COINCIDENCES: Saint Augustine of Hippo and Professor Alexander Animalu

Posted by News Express | 2 October 2013 | 5,230 times

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The oldest continually published magazine in the United States is The Scientific American, first published on August 28, 1845. August 28 by the Christian tradition is Saint Augustine’s Day – Saint Augustine having died on August 28, 430 A.D.

On August 28, 1938 the world witnessed the birth of the Igbo son, Professor Alexander Animalu, who later became the President, Nigerian Academy of Science. He was born the year the Augustinian monks came to settle in Jos, where you have the Augustinian Monastery and the Saint Augustine Seminary.
Saint Augustine, described as the Chief of Professors and the Chief Student of the university of his day, has also be referred to as the greatest thinker to have come out of Africa. Similarly, the high quality of Professor Animalu’s thesis was attested to when the main results were published in the Philosophical Magazine in 1965 and included in W.A. Harrison’s book entitled “Pseudopotentials in the Theory of Metals”. The book contained the model potential tables which were in such high demand by researchers in the field of metal physics and semiconductor electronics that the Ph.D. thesis work became by 1983, a citation classic, having been cited more than 729 times between 1965 and 2001.

Professor Animalu is the only African in Physics to have earned such a record of citations, his paper being the best among the best 12 cited papers from the University of Cambridge in 50 years (1930-1980). It is of interest to note that four of these 12 most cited works from Cambridge have subsequently won the Nobel Prize in Physics.

COINCIDENCES appears fortnightly on Wednesdays. The columnist, Augustine Togonu-Bickersteth, is based in England, Britain, but can be reached via e-mail through or

Source: News Express

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