The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) is a tertiary education and research institute in Muizenberg, South Africa, established in September 2003, and an associated network of linked institutes in Senegal, Ghana, Cameroon, Tanzania and Rwanda.


The first African Institute for Mathematical Sciences was founded in Cape Town by Neil Turok in 2003, while he was Chair of Mathematical Physics at Cambridge University. Neil Turok is the son of Ben Turok, an ANC MP. In 2008 Turok became Executive Director of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.

AIMS South Africa was formed as a partnership between the following universities: University of Stellenbosch, University of Cambridge, University of Cape Town, University of Oxford, University of Paris-Sud, and University of the Western Cape.[1]

AIMS Next Einstein Initiative

AIMS was the subject of a talk[2] by Neil Turok after he received the TED Prize in 2008.[3] Neil Turok's TED wish was that, within his lifetime, an African Einstein would be celebrated.

The AIMS Next Einstein Initiative[4] is a plan to create 15 more AIMS centres across Africa. These centres intend to create institutions that are equipped with educational and scientific resources equivalent to the more developed continents, in order to fulfil Neil Turok's TED wish.

The first three centres created after that in South Africa are in Senegal,[5] Ghana[6] and Cameroon. AIMS Senegal became operational in September, 2011 in Mbour, near Dakar, and AIMS Ghana opened its doors in 2012 in the small coastal city of Biriwa. An earlier centre based at the African University of Science and Technology (AUST[7]) in Nigeria was known as AIMS Abuja[8][9] for a while. AIMS Ghana was set up in 2012, AIMS Cameroon in 2013 and AIMS Tanzania in 2014. There is a sixth centre in Rwanda.

The AIMS Next Einstein Initiative is a continuation of the work of the African Mathematical Institutes Network (AMI-Net).[10]

After AIMS South Africa won the TED Prize in 2008, Neil Turok and his partners developed the AIMS Next Einstein Initiative, the goal of which is to build 15 centres of excellence across Africa by 2023. The Government of Canada made a US$20 million investment in the Next Einstein Initiative in 2010, through its International Development Research Centre, and numerous governments in Africa and Europe have followed suit. In October 2015, a forum took place in Dakar under the auspices of UNESCO's International Basic Sciences Programme to take the project for a vast network of centres to the next stage.[11]

Teaching and research

The AIMS institutes teach both basic and applied mathematics, covering a large range of mathematical applications in physics (including astrophysics and cosmology), quantitative biology, bioinformatics, scientific computing, finance, agriculture modelling and so on. That in Senegal proposes courses in both French and English.[12] In addition to its academic programmes, AIMS South Africa has a research centre in interdisciplinary areas like cosmology, computing and finance (see below). In 2015, AIMS Cameroon was planning to launch its own research centre to host resident and visiting researchers from universities in Cameroon and beyond.[12]

Community service

The AIMS institutes provide community services. AIMS Senegal has developed an innovative teaching module for secondary school maths teachers and has partnered with local businesses to raise funds for the creation of a national contest on computer applications and mathematical modelling, with a focus on finding development-oriented solutions. AIMS South Africa directs the AIMS Schools Enrichment Centre for primary and secondary school teachers, which also organizes public lectures, workshops and master classes and supports maths clubs in schools across the country (see below). Scholars and lecturers from AIMS Ghana have equipped teachers at Biriwa Junior High School with an innovative teaching module.[12]

AIMS South Africa
Academic programme
Structured Masters programme

The flagship programme of AIMS South Africa is a 10-month Structured Masters programme in the Mathematical Sciences. The programme was upgraded in 2012 from a Postgraduate Diploma. The master's degree is conferred by the three South African universities in the partnership. Students from Africa can apply for full scholarships, including travel, board & lodging, tuition, and a stipend. AIMS is committed to greater participation by women in science and a geographically representative student body from the African continent.

Visiting faculty have included David MacKay, Bernt Øksendal, David Aschman (Cape Town), Alan Beardon (Cambridge), Jordi Campos (Barcelona), Jesus Cerquides (Spanish National Research Council), Patrick Dorey (Durham), Pedro Ferreira (Oxford), Jan Govaerts (Leuven), Barry Green (Stellenbosch), Gordon Johnson (Houston), Dirk Laurie (Stellenbosch), Sanjoy Mahajan (MIT, Olin), Vincent Rivasseau (University of Paris), Bernd Schroers (Heriot-Watt), Robert de Mello Koch (Witwatersrand), Rob Beezer (University of Puget Sound), Jeff Sanders (United Nations University International Institute for Software Technology), and Tadashi Tokieda (Stanford). Each visiting lecturer teaches an intensive three-week-long module.

The goal of the programme is to produce students capable of doing a high quality research-based master's degree. Special emphasis is placed on intuitive understanding, problem solving skills, collaboration, scientific writing skills, and computer modelling using Free Software such as SageMath, SciPy, and R.

AIMS offers bursaries for many alumni continuing studies in South Africa.
Honours Degree in Mathematical Biology

AIMS, in conjunction with University of Stellenbosch, offers an honours degree in Mathematical Biology for South African students.

Honours Degree in Mathematical Finance

An honours degree in Mathematical Finance is being offered for South African students in conjunction with University of Stellenbosch and the University of Cape Town.

Master's and doctoral studies

In the AIMS Research Centre students, often AIMS alumni, study towards a MSc or PhD degree under supervision of a resident researcher in Mathematical Biology and Mathematical Finance.
Research centre

AIMS South Africa hosts a research centre that opened in May 2008. Stephen Hawking visited the AIMS research centre and AIMS-Next Einstein Initiative launch.[13][14][15][16][17]

The centre specialises in Mathematical Biology, Industrial Mathematics, Mathematical Finance, Astrophysics & Cosmology,[18] and Computer Algebra. Bursaries are offered for Master's and doctoral studies.
School Enrichment Centre

AIMS South Africa hosts a School Enrichment Centre which offers free learning resources and professional development courses for South African mathematics teachers.[19]
Workshops and conferences

AIMS South Africa regularly hosts short conferences or workshops in Mathematics and its applications, especially in Physics, Mathematical Finance, Epidemiology. Other topics include Scientific Modelling or System Administration using Debian GNU/Linux[20] as a platform.
Public lectures

Regular public lectures[21] on a wide range of topics are offered by eminent scientists at the forefront of research in their field.

AIMS South Africa is sponsored by international corporations, international development organisations and the South African departments of Education and Science and Technology. In February 2010 Google donated $1 million to AIMS.[22]

In July 2010, Canada committed CAN$20 million of federal funding to AIMS and the AIMS-Next Einstein Initiative.[23][24][25] The funds are administered by the International Development Research Centre and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.

In September 2010 the AIMS Next Einstein InitiativeAIMS-NEI was awarded US$2 million from Google's Project 10^100.[26]

Individuals donate to AIMS on GivenGain.[27]

"About AIMS". AIMS South Africa. Archived from the original on 8 September 2017. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
"TED talk about AIMS, by Neil Turok". TED.
"TED Prize 2008: Dave Eggers and Tutoring, Neil Turok and the next African Einstein, Karen Armstrong and the Charter for Compassion". TED. 28 February 2008.
"AIMS-NextEinstein Initiative". 21 January 2010.
"AIMS-Senegal". 4 May 2013. Archived from the original on 26 September 2011.
"AIMS-Ghana". AIMS-Ghana. Archived from the original on 28 July 2013. Retrieved 11 August 2013.
"African University of Science and Technology". Archived from the original on 20 October 2011.
"Seeking an African Einstein".
"AIMS Abuja Opens". Archived from the original on 3 April 2012.
"African Mathematical Institutes Network".
Kraemer-Mbula, Erika; Scerri, Mario (2015). Southern Africa. In: UNESCO Science Report: towards 2030 (PDF). Paris: UNESCO. pp. 535–555. ISBN 978-92-3-100129-1.
Kraemer-Mbula, Erika; Scerri, Mario (2015). Southern Africa. In: UNESCO Science Report: towards 2030 (PDF). Paris: UNESCO. pp. 535–555. ISBN 978-92-3-100129-1.
"Stephen Hawking to visit AIMS Research Centre Launch". Archived from the original on 29 December 2010.
Andrew Norfolk (7 July 2011). "Stephen Hawking in hunt for Africa's hidden talent".
"Stephen Hawking meets Nelson Mandela for AIMS". 15 May 2008.
Stephen Hawking Meets Nelson Mandela Archived 4 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine
"Stephen Hawking seeks 'Einsteins of Africa'". 7 July 2008.
"Cosmology at AIMS".
"AIMS-SEC School Enrichment Centre". Archived from the original on 11 August 2011. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
"AIMS Desktop".
"Public Lectures at AIMS".
"Google donates $1 million to AIMS". 11 February 2010.
"Canada gives $20M to expand AIMS across Africa". 6 July 2010.
"PM announces Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships, support for Next Einstein Initiative". 6 July 2010. Archived from the original on 2 August 2010.
Perimeter Institute & Canada Partner on Growing Science & Technology Capacity Globally Archived 9 July 2010 at the Wayback Machine
"Project 10^100". Archived from the original on 28 July 2009.

"Individuals donate to AIMS on GivenGain".

External links

AIMS official website
"Article on AIMS in Science in Africa". Archived from the original on 6 January 2010. Retrieved 12 June 2010.
"Speech by Minister of Science and Technology, Mosibudi Mangena, at the launch of the AIMS Research Centre". Archived from the original on 1 December 2008. Retrieved 6 March 2009.
Article on AIMS in Physicsworld
Article on AIMS in Chronicle of Higher Education
Article on AIMS in Nature Materials
Article on AIMS in Die Zeit
Speech by Minister of Education, Kader Asmal, at the launch of AIMS (18/09/2003)
"Article in about launch of AIMS". Archived from the original on 27 November 2006. Retrieved 7 March 2008.
Government of Canada Commits $20 Million to Fund 5 New Science and Technology Schools in Africa – Championed by Neil Turok's TED Prize Wish
Ottawa pledges $20-million for science education in Africa
PM announces funds for science education – here and in Africa[permanent dead link]
Brain food II: Smart aid for Africa
PM announces creation of 70 new fellowships to attract scientists to Canada
AFRICA-CANADA: Boost for Next-Einstein centres
"NEPAD endorses the Next Einstein Initiative". Archived from the original on 8 October 2010. Retrieved 5 October 2016.
Making science work for Africa
Africa's Counting House
Science Aid Nature Editorial

Undergraduate Texts in Mathematics

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Graduate Studies in Mathematics

Mathematics Encyclopedia



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