The Next Einstein Forum (NEF) has celebrated this year’s Africa Science Week by organising an awe-inspiring forum involving some trail-blazing scientists in Ghana at the Academic City University College Accra on Wednesday, 11th May 2022. 

Africa Science Week

The Africa Science Week is a flagship program of the Next Einstein Forum (NEF) since 2017 which aims to introduce the world of science, research and technology through coordinated science days across the continent. It is a period to celebrate the contribution of Africa and African researchers towards the construction of the world’s scientific heritage. The Africa Science Week is organized by NEF Ambassadors from each selected African country. NEF Ambassadors are the NEF’s young science and technology champions, one from each African country. NEF Ambassadors are STEM champions who drive the NEF’s local public engagement activities while growing their own careers through the NEF’s partnerships that offer opportunities for mentorship and collaborations with established researchers. 

In an address, Ghana’s NEF Ambassador Justina A. Onumah welcomed the participants and expressed delight at having the relevant stakeholders present for the occasion. She also highlighted the importance of leveraging on science and technology for human development and the belief that the Next Einstein can be an African.

The theme for the celebration was “using the transforming power of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics to propel the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. 

The ‘Spotlight session with trailblazing Scientists,’ which was organised by NEF in partnership with WeGo Innovate, Academic City and Ghana STEM Network, brought together three crack academic researchers of repute including Prof. Elsie Effah Kaufmann, University of Ghana and the National Science and Maths Quiz mistress, Dr. Michael Osae from the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC), and Dr. Peace Amoatey, University of Ghana. 

The in-person and virtual audiences were treated to cutting edge research presentations by Dr. Amoatey who touched on ‘Waste Water Treatment for Irrigation’, highlighting the danger of bacteria and metal contamination of vegetables and water bodies, and proposing treatment using sand filters. 

Dr. Michael Osae gave a fascinating presentation that explored bioengineering in the insect world focusing on a case study of the Black soldier fly which has inspired the production of animal feed, and organic fertilisers while also highlighting untapped opportunities and potentials in the field.  

Prof. Effah Kaufmann gave a lecture on demystifying Ghana’s National Maths and Science Quiz, noting its objectives and history from 1993, the challenging years, and its evolution to the present competition a lot of people have to come to love.

The panel fielded questions from the audience during the mentoring session bothering on the individuals who inspired them to take science seriously, dealing with setbacks, how scientific studies could be converted to solving real-life problems, and how females can survive the male-dominated science field. 

Prof. Kaufmann, advised the young scientists to prioritise their activities to achieve their aims in life by keeping their eyes fixed on the goal they set for themselves. 

“Spend less time focusing on things that are not important. Prioritise and don’t pay too much attention to things that don’t matter. Solicit understanding and help from your family to achieve your aims. Help them (family) and do your best for them but at by so doing, they will also not disturb you when you really need it.”

Dr. Amoatey, who is also a leakage management expert, said her dream is to see the Odaw river cleared of all its filt.

“My dream is to see the Odaw river completely clean. Engineering is not the solution. It is down to the behaviour of people. My dream is to be able to have a leakage system at Ghana Water Company to safeguard water management from the early stage to response, right to the end. 

On his part, Dr. Osae stressed the need for scientists to find a way of monetising their research findings so it becomes easier for entrepreneurs to partner with them. 

Highlight of Event

Another key highlight of the event was project presentations and exhibtions by some students from Academic City, Blue Crest and OpenLabs. Further, the Ghana STEM Network Team was also launched, coupled with STEM exhibitions from IOT Network Hub. 

The event was attended by students and teachers of the Apostle Safo School of Arts and Science, students of Academic City and Blue Crest, students from other academic institutions, science enthusiasts and the media. 

The weeklong event began on Wednesday 11th May 2022 with the Spotlight Session. Other scheduled events include, Africa Science Movie night on Friday, 13th May at the Ghana Tech Lab, Women-in-STEM Outreach to a junior high school, and the Climate Speaker Series to be held on 19th May, 2022 at the ISSER Conference room.

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