Bringing physics training to Africa

Forty-nine students from 15 African countries plus one student from Iran are currently attending the African School of Physics (ASP) 2012. The school, which is in its second year, is a unique opportunity for young African students to receive training in cutting-edge physics research. Listen to their voices…


Participants in the African School of Physics with CERN's John Ellis.

“Attending a school like this is an opportunity no student should miss. This school unlocks one's mind and we are so exposed to many exciting things happening in the world of physics. It's just amazing!” says Suzan Phumudzo Bvumbi from the University of Johannesburg, South Africa.

Suzan is among the 50 students who have spent over three weeks this summer attending the second edition of the African School of Physics (ASP2012). The school was held in Kumasi, Ghana. "Hosting ASP2012 has given us the opportunity to demonstrate the capacity and resources available in an African university,” comments Peter Amoako-Yirenkyi from the local organizing committee at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science of Technology (KNUST), Ghana. “The school also allows us to establish stronger collaborations with renowned scientists and other institutions across the world."

Thanks to valuable feedback received after the first edition of the school –  held in South Africa in 2010 – this year the organisers have introduced some novelties, including an extended duration. “We have added three days dedicated to the Grid,” explains Ketevi Assamagan, scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory and member of the international organizing committee.  “We have also improved the programme and the interactions between the lecturers to avoid duplications and repetitions as much as possible.”

The lecturers – around 32 spread across the entire three-and-half-week period of the school – are experts from the US, South Africa, Ghana, France, Belgium, Sweden, Switzerland, Italy, the UK and CERN. The school receives support from a number of scientific institutions worldwide that want to support higher education in Africa. "The aim of the school is to contribute to capacity building in Africa by harvesting, interpreting and exploiting the results of current and future physics experiments with particle accelerators, and increasing proficiency in related applications and technologies,” confirms Ketevi Assamagan. “Our goal is to help increase the number of African students acquiring higher education. I believe that the knowledge students gain will benefit them in whichever careers they pursue."

For detailed information about the school, please visit the school’s website.

Please note that this video is partly in French.

by Antonella Del Rosso