Stephen Hawking to deliver first ever Africa lecture in Cape Town

2008-05-05 00:00

Interest is mounting for the first ever public lecture in Africa of the world’s most famous living scientist, Stephen Hawking.

As a guest of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS), Hawking will deliver his public lecture, titled “Universe”, at the Muizenberg Pavilion, Cape Town, on Sunday, May 11 at 6 pm.

Hawking suffers from Lou Gehrig’s disease, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a progressive, usually fatal, disease caused by the degeneration of motor neurons, the nerve cells in the central nervous system that control voluntary muscle movement.

The disorder causes muscle weakness and atrophy throughout the body as both the upper and lower motor neurons degenerate, ceasing to send messages to muscles.

At the recent celebrations of the 50th anniversary of Nasa (the National Aeronautics and Space Administration), Hawking called for the colonising of the moon and Mars.

“I am honoured to visit Africa for the first time to show my support for AIMS. If my visit helps to create opportunities for Africans to enter maths and science, I will be delighted.

The world of science needs Africa’s brilliant talents, and I look forward to meeting prospective young Einsteins from Africa in the near future,” said Hawking.

The public lecture is part of a new AIMS initiative to “unlock and nurture scientific talent across Africa, so that within our lifetimes we are celebrating an African Einstein”, said Professor Neil Turok, founder and chair of AIMS.

Established in Muizenberg in 2003, the goals of AIMS are to promote mathematics and science in Africa, recruit and train talented students and teachers and build capacity for African initiatives in education, research, and technology.

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