Monday, September 8, 2008

Ghana Materials Research Society (MRS-GH) Inaugurated

I left Ghana on July 15th in the evening. That morning I had the pleasure of making a keynote presentation at the inaugural meeting of the Ghana Materials Research Society. The meeting was held at the Science and Technology Policy Research Institute (STEPRI) in Accra.
It was the final outcome of a lot of encouragement from the United States. MRS-Ghana is a chapter of the Africa Materials Research Society (MRS - Africa), which itself was inaugurated in Dakar, Senegal in December 2002 (see also and search for the pdf file of the MRS bulletin from Feb, 2003, p. 143 " Africa Materials Research Society [MRS-Africa] Held Inaugural Meeting)."

The picture above shows the attendees at the Ghana inaugural meeting. They are from the University of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), and the Industrial Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (IRI-CSIR).

Given the historical importance of the occasion, I invited my daughter Abena, a science historian at the University of California, Berkeley, to come witness the meeting. It pleased me that Kwadwo Konadu, the pioneer student of the University of Ghana's new Department of Materials Science and Engineering, was able to attend.

While this was a great beginning, I celebrated with mixed feelings. Only 2 universities were represented, though there are other institutions of higher learning with materials-related programs and professors (e.g., the University of Cape Coast, the University for Development Studies, and the several polytechnics). Also absent were representatives from industry, other branches of CSIR such as the Building and Road Research Institute, and the Forestry Research Institute, and institutes of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC). Apart from my observing daughter, there was only one woman, Dr. Elsie Effah Kaufmann, a biomaterials scientist and Head of the University of Ghana's Department of Biomedical Engineering.

MRS - Africa
Since 2002, several other country chapters have emerged (South Africa, Tanzania, Nigeria, Senegal, Morocco, . . .). Following the initial Dakar, Senegal (2002) meeting there have been Africa MRS meetings in Johannesburg, South Africa (2003), Marrakech, Morocco (2005), (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (2007). The 2009 Africa MRS meeting will be held in Nigeria.

The photo below was taken of the Ghanaian delegation at the 4th International Conference of MRS-Africa in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Congratulations to Professor Francis Momade (Provost, College of Engineering, KNUST) and his associates for working to make MRS-Ghana a reality. May it grow to become a dynamic and truly nationwide society.

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