London South Bank University, in partnership with the Global Knowledge Exchange Network (GKEN), played host to a symposium on the theme of ‘popularising science in Africa’ on Saturday 8 December.
Renowned physicist, Professor Brian Cox (pictured above left, with student Sohail Jassemi Moosavi) gave the keynote address, in which he spoke about his involvement in a project to build a giant telescope in the Ethiopian desert, which led to a growing personal involvement for him as a scientist in Africa.
Professor Cox went on to deliver an animated presentation on the general theme of ‘Exploring the Universe’, touching on Stephen Hawking’s research into radiation from black holes, quantum mechanics, galaxies, solar systems, expanding space, exploding stars and light and dark matter. Brian spoke passionately about the importance of science in our everyday lives, a notion that parallels GKEN’s aim to promote scientific research and education across Africa.
Speaking at the conference, Professor Brian Cox said: “On my visits to Ethiopia, I have found that a thirst for knowledge and enthusiasm is common everywhere I go. It’s only the question of possibility that’s key. All I have to do is go into a village to be greeted by wide-eyed children who just want to know about the Universe. I want them all to be physicists.”
Sarah Moore-Williams, Dean of LSBU’s School of Business said: “The Business School is very proud to have co-hosted this year’s GKEN Symposium.
“London South Bank University has been transforming lives, communities and businesses for over 120 years. Our mission is to be recognised as an enterprising civic university addressing real world challenges, with our research creating new knowledge with practical applications, helping to find solutions to global issues.
“By co-hosting GKEN’s symposium we have demonstrated our support for the importance of promoting science within Africa. This is a cause which is truly aligned to LSBU values and we are inspired by the potential impact we will be able to generate by working with GKEN to raise awareness of these important issues.”
LSBU’s Professor Amare Desta, Co-founder & Director of GKEN said: “Africa needs to develop not only ‘science talent’ but also science and technology managers to ensure that the continent’s human, financial and institutional resources are efficiently mobilized and allocated. GKEN also wants to ensure that potentially useful research findings, including indigenous knowledge and practices, are robustly protected and exploited to obtain maximum benefit.
“We hope this GKEN event has helped move the debate on by exploring measures and ideas that will help Africa to meet its development goals. By combining natural and social sciences and innovation GKEN hopes to transform ideas and technologies into economic and social value for Africa.”
The afternoon sessions included five detailed project pitches from one academic and four PhD candidates, addressing themes such as ‘Understanding Skills Needed in Africa’, teaching in Africa and measuring collaboration, which generated lively discussion among participants.
This symposium also received support from the Satellite Connectivity in Health and Education (SCIEH) group and marketing and communications firm, TIBEB Intermedia. It will be followed by another conference and workshop in Ethiopia in April 2019.