Science

Philip Emeagwali

Philip Emeagwali

Dr Philip Chukwurah Emeagwal, mathematician and computer scientist, was born on August 23, 1954 in Akure, a remote village in Nigera son of James and Agatha Emeagwali; He was the oldest of nine children and his father, who worked as a nurse’s aide, earned only a modest income.

As a result, at age 14, Philip was forced to drop out of school in Onitsha because his father could not continue paying the fees to keep him in school. He had shown such great promise in mathematics that his classmates nicknamed him “Calculus.�, his father encouraged him to continue learning at home.  Continue reading

Clarence A. “Skip” Ellis

Clarence “Skip” Ellis was born in 1943 and grew up in a very poor neighborhood of the south side of Chicago. His mother struggled to raise five children by herself. Gangs and violence were common in school. Skip wasn’t one of the “cool” kids – he mostly kept to himself. At the time, he was sad because he felt excluded from so many things. Surprisingly, this helped him because he was able to avoid the gangs, violence and problems some kids in his class got into.

At 15, Skip took a job at a local company to help support his family. He was assigned the “graveyard shift,” which meant he had to work all night long. His job was to prevent break-ins and, most importantly, not to touch the company’s brand new computer! It was 1958 and computers were very expensive and not very common. Since he had lots of free time, he read the computer manuals that came with the machines. He became a self-taught computer expert. One day, there was a crisis at the company…  Continue reading

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