TED Talk Tuesday: Finding the Next Einstein in Africa


Hat tip to Megan Roddie for bringing this talk to my attention.

The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences is the product of a big dream by one man, physicist Neil Turok. He believes that within the people of Africa lies untapped potential to create significant change for Africa and for the world. I share Turok’s belief.

One visit with a group of Kenyan students was all it took for me to realize that there are brilliant young minds out there who are simply starving for opportunity. And what I have seen, (which Turok doesn’t mention) is that when these young students have their physical needs cared for, they often excel in school. Once they no longer have to spend their time, energy and mental resources trying to figure out where they are going to find shelter or food or clothing, suddenly, they are able to devote more time to their studies and more energy to thinking about their future.

One of the great lies that has been perpetrated by Africans and non-Africans alike is that the western world has, is or needs to fix Africa. As Turok says and a good Kenyan friend of mine also says, “If Africa is going to be fixed, it’s going to be fixed by Africans.”¬†Our greatest contributions, then, can be those of education, training, early intervention and a mentality that seeks not to help Africans survive, but seeks to give them the tools they need to excel no a global level.

Could the next Einstein come from Africa? Absolutely! Let’s do what we can to turn this dream into a reality.