AsianScientist (Feb. 24, 2015) – Four physicists and a mathematician have been named winners of the 2015 Elsevier Foundation Awards for Early Career Women Scientists in the Developing World, in recognition of research that has strong potential social and economic benefits.
The winning scholars are from Nigeria, Sudan and Vietnam and are being honored for their accomplishments in nanoparticle physics, computational mathematics, atmospheric and medical physics. They are also celebrated for encouraging young women in their home countries to pursue careers in the critically important fields of physics and math.
The Elsevier Foundation awards are given in partnership with the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) and The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) for the advancement of science in developing countries. The five winners received their awards on February 14th during a ceremony at the Gender & Minorities Networking Breakfast at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting in San Jose, California.
Dr. Dang Thi Oanh, head of the Division of Science, Thái Nguyên University of Information and Communications Technology, was recognized for her work in developing algorithms that are used to solve problems that are normally too complicated for computers. Her work has helped to improve the accuracy of these methods, typically used for solving problems in fields such as artificial intelligence and computer graphics.
“It is important that the world sees how women are contributing to the 21st century Vietnamese economy through science research,” said Oanh, “I am proud to be a part of this.
Growing up in a tribal village in Vietnam, Oanh lived in a house with a roof made of leaves and no electricity. Motivated by more than a passion for learning, she would study by the light of an oil lamp.
“I had to escape the hunger and poverty. If you study, you don’t have to work on the farm; you have don’t have to gather dry wood in the jungle (to burn for heat and cooking),” she said.
The other four winners are Dr. Nashwa Eassa, assistant professor at Al Neelain University, Sudan; Dr. Mojisola Oluwyemisi Adeniyi, head of the Atmospheric Physics/Meteorological Research Group at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria; Dr. Mojisola Usikalu, senior lecturer in physics at Covenant University, Nigeria and Dr. Rabia Salihu Sa’id, deputy dean of student affairs at Bayero University, Nigeria.
The 2015 Elsevier Foundation awards competition focused on physics and math, and a selection panel of eminent physics scholars and mathematicians selected each winner based on her achievements. The prize includes USD$5,000 and all-expenses paid attendance at the 2015 AAAS Annual Meeting. In addition, this year the Abdus Salam International Center for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), based in Trieste, Italy, is offering each of the winners free attendance and accommodation at one of ICTP’s renowned workshops or conferences.
“OWSD is very proud to have been a key partner in these awards over the last five years. Each year, five very talented women scientists have been selected from countries with challenging conditions for science in general and for women in particular,” said Professor Fang Xin, president of OWSD.
“Furthermore, this year’s awards are in maths and physics, two fields that typically have a low take up rate for women. The fact that the awards are presented during the AAAS annual meeting gives the awardees high visibility and they will make many important contacts here to further their research. I extend my full congratulations to this year’s inspiring winners.”
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