SU professor to lead AIMS

Stellenbosch University (SU) mathematics professor, Barry Green, has been appointed as the new director of the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in Muizenberg, Cape Town.

Prof Green, the former head of the SU Department of BarryGreenProfileMathematical Sciences, takes over the position on 1 April from Prof Fritz Hahne, who is retiring.

Prof Green has been closely involved with the growth of AIMS since its founding in 2003 to promote postgraduate education and research in mathematics and science across Africa. AIMS is a joint project supported by Stellenbosch University, the University of Cape Town, the University of the Western Cape, Oxford University, Cambridge University and University Paris-Sud-XI.

Around sixty talented students are selected each year on merit from all over Africa to follow the AIMS postgraduate programme in Muizenberg. Local and international lecturers present courses in various classical and modern areas in the mathematical sciences, as well as in developing problem solving and computational skills.

 “The programme builds a bridge for education, research and technology in Africa to advance study and future careers in academia, government and industry,” Prof Green believes.

“Africa’s greatest resource is its people,” he says. “There can be no more effective investment in Africa’s future than in education which empowers talented young people to contribute to their countries’ development.”

Prof Green, who is recognized in international mathematical circles as an excellent researcher and administrator, says he hopes to extend the research capacity within the AIMS initiative.

He also looks forward to being involved in the establishment of similar facilities in a number of African countries as part of the AIMS-Next Einstein Initiative. This initiative is being driven by Prof Neil Turok, the founder of AIMS and director of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Canada.

Prof Green, whose research interests include algebra, number theory and its computational applications, completed his PhD at the University of Cape Town in 1984. He spent ten years as part of a research team at the University of Heidelberg (Germany) before returning to South Africa in 1996 to take up a position as mathematics lecturer at Stellenbosch University.

Prof Green is an academic of high calibre who successfully balanced research, teaching, service activities and administrative duties as executive head of the SU Department of the Mathematical Sciences – a position he served in for the past eight years.

He received the South African Mathematical Society’s Award for Research Distinction in 2007.

He is an active promoter of mathematics in Africa, amongst others as managing editor of Quaestiones Mathematicae, the journal of the South African Mathematical Society (SAMS), and as a member of the editorial board of mathematics journal Afrika Mathematika.