Category: Technology

Brown University Physics Professor S. James Gates Jr. to Lead the American Physical Society

Theoretical Physicist S. James Gates, Jr. (via cspan.org)

via jbhe.com

S. James Gates Jr., Ford Foundation Professor of Physics at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, has been named to the presidential line of the American Physical Society, a nonprofit organization that represents more than 55,000 physicists in higher education and the physics industry worldwide. Dr. Gates will serve as vice president in 2019, president-elect in 2020, and president in 2021.

Before joining the Brown faculty in May 2017, Dr. Gates served as a professor at the University of Maryland for 33 years. His research interests include theoretical physics, specifically the areas of supersymmetry and supergravity. He has won the National Medal of Science, which is the highest honor bestowed upon American scientists by the U.S. President.

Professor Gates is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, serves on the board of trustees of Society for Science and the Public, and was a member on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology under President Obama. He is a co-author of the supersymmetry textbook, Superspace or One Thousand and One Lessons in Supersymmetry (Addison-Wesley, 1983).

Dr. Gates holds two bachelor’s degrees, one in mathematics and one in physics, and a Ph.D. in physics all from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Source: https://www.jbhe.com/2018/09/sylvester-james-gates-to-lead-the-american-physical-society/

Young Guru Encourages Coding Interest With $1 Million In Scholarships

Young Guru is looking to provide resources for the best of the best in the world of coding. On Wednesday (Aug. 22), the famed audio engineer for Jay Z and renowned beatsmith, announced the give away of one million dollars in scholarship funds for people of color interested in coding.

In partnership with Opportunity Hubs and Rodney Sampson, Guru will also team with the Flatiron Schoolwhich is dedicated to this field and serves as an incubator of knowledge for 10,000 people. The announcement was accompanied by a national Tech To Wealth tour, ending on Oct. 3 in Seattle.

In an interview with Highsnobiety, Guru discussed how music and technology go hand-in-hand and why creatives should take advantage of the tools that are at their disposal.

“The technologies we have, some of them are better than what we’ve imagined on Star Trek,” he said. “Those type of things, as an engineering feat, are amazing. Also, what these technologies do in terms of power, what they give to the user and to the artist in terms of creative power is just incredible.”

Source: https://www.vibe.com/2018/08/young-guru-coding-scholarships/

Lyft Teams Up With Urban League, Voto Latino, TurboVote and Others to Offer Free and Half-Price Rides on Election Day

Noam Galai/Getty Images for TechCrunch

by Doug Criss via cnn.com

Lyft is getting some help to get people in underserved communities to the polls this fall. The ride-sharing company says it’s working with community groups to offer free and reduced-price rides on November 6, the date of the midterm elections.

To increase encourage voter turnout, Lyft will offer free rides to people in underserved communities that day by working with Voto Latino, the Urban League and the National Federation of the Blind.

Lyft is also teaming up with Vote.org, Nonprofit Vote, TurboVote and others to give away 50% off promo codes to riders. Riders can get help finding their polling location through the Lyft app.

The company plans to remind riders about voter registration deadlines, give drivers voter registration handouts and offer in-office voter registration to its employees. Lyft will provide online voter information through partner organizations When We All Vote and National Voter Registration Day and encourage people to participate in early voting.

Lyft says it’s doing this because over “15 million people were registered but didn’t vote in 2016 because of transportation issues.”

Why turnout in some communities is so low

Elections are held on a work day, when time often equals money — especially if you get paid by the hour. And having a car or paying extra for public transportation to get to the polls can just add to that expense.

Being ‘”too busy” or encountering “transportation problems” were the reasons 28% of people making less than $20,000 did not vote in the 2012 presidential election, according to the U.S. Census.

Perhaps the biggest change to the electoral process in the last few years is the proliferation of Voter ID laws, which many states put in place to prevent fraud. Since 2008, 17 states have enacted laws requiring citizens to prove who they are at the polls, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. The cost of getting an ID is a hurdle for some people.

Not only do low-income people potentially lose pay when they vote, but some have to wait longer, too. The Presidential Commission on Election Administration found that 10 million people waited in line for more than 30 minutes to vote during previous presidential election cycles.

Source: https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/24/politics/lyft-election-ride-trnd/index.html

How Four Millennial Entrepreneurs Established Tupuca, Angola’s 1st Food, Grocery and Pharmaceutical Delivery Startup

Erickson Mvezi and Wilson Ganga (Photograph — Ventureburn)

by Hadassah Egbedi via venturesafrica.com

Erickson Mvezi, Wilson Ganga, Patrice Francisco and Sydney Teixeira set up Tupuca in 2015, Angola’s first food delivery platform that allows users order food from multiple restaurants straight from their smartphone. Fast forward to the present; Tupuca has added groceries and pharmaceutical delivery to their services.

Originally, the idea was to create a clothes delivery platform but legal and market issues forced them to place the project on hold. After a while, influenced by a personal need to always order food, Mvezi, who is also CEO of the startup, began a research on how food delivery platforms operated outside Angola.

“It was then that I took the model on hold, adjusted it by replacing the fashion stores with restaurants, and then started doing some feasibility studies and noticed that it would be a profitable thing, and then Tupuca was born,” Mvezi said in an interview.

“We realised that people living in Luanda had a difficult time going around to pick up food and other essentials. Tupuca has validated many assumptions in the delivery industry in Angola. Many people were sceptical about the readiness of the market,” Mvezi told Disrupt Africa.

Since its establishment four years ago, the startup only managed to get a total of $200,000 from two investors, U.S. businessman Rohit Daswani who lives in Nigeria and a local restaurant owner Pramod Asija. Prior to those investments, funding for the startup was bootstrapped.

As at Q3 2017, Tupuca had a total of 30 employees. In a bid to minimise costs, the delivery drivers(Tupuquinhas) have to bring their own motorbikes, while the startup supplies backpacks and smartphones, along with insurance. “That way it minimises our costs… and they get a cut from the commission we make from the delivery fees,” Mvezi said.

According to the founders, the initial set up phase wasn’t easy. It took six months to get their first client signed on. But once they were able to convince the first, second and third restaurant, which happens to be well known, everything got easier from there. Currently, the platform has over 100 restaurants signed up and over 20,000 users with orders increasing from 400 monthly in January 2017, to 8000 monthly in January 2018.

In 2016, Tupuca was selected as one of the top 10 startups in Angola by Seedstars World, Luanda. And last year, the startup won the Angolan leg of the global Seedstars World competition, the world’s biggest startup competition in emerging markets. Now, the startup is getting solicited by investors and entrepreneurs from neighbouring countries like Congo and Mozambique to replicate the model by franchising, something the founders have said they would consider.

For founders, Mvezi, Ganga, Francisco and Teixeira, Tupuca is unfazed by increasing competition in Angola’s food delivery space instead the startup is focused on guaranteeing quality service, setting the market trend by introducing new services and inspiring young entrepreneurs across Africa.

Source: http://venturesafrica.com/how-4-millennials-established-tupuca-angolas-first-food-grocery-and-pharmaceutical-delivery-startup/

How Senegal and its Astronomers are Helping NASA’s New Horizons Program Make Discoveries in Space

Outside Dakar, people got a look at the heavens last week through one of the New Horizons space program’s telescopes. (Credit: Tomas Munita for The New York Times)

by Jaime Yaya Barry and Dionne Searcey via nytimes.com

DAKAR, Senegal — When Salma Sylla was a little girl, she tried to find relief from Senegal’s steamy hot season by retreating to the roof of her home to sleep. Restless and overheated, she would lie awake staring at the stars.

The area where she lived outside Dakar, the capital, had no electricity, and the heavens sparkled. She tried to count the stars, realizing more shone on some nights than on others.

Ms. Sylla, now 37, was intrigued. But studying the stars in Senegal was not easy: High school courses were limited; libraries rarely had books on space; telescopes were few and expensive.

Not much has improved since Ms. Sylla was a girl; astronomy offerings are extremely limited in Senegal’s universities. But officials here hope to change that, as part of a mission to improve science, technology, engineering and math skills by bolstering the country’s university programs and building a science and research center.

The undertaking is part of “Emerging Senegal,” a broad development strategy by President Macky Sall that also includes plans for a planetarium.

The effort got a lift last week, when Senegal welcomed a team of more than three dozen scientists from the United States and France, part of NASA’s New Horizons program. The scientists fanned out across the countryside in hopes of observing the silhouette cast by an ancient chunk of rock orbiting beyond Pluto as it passed in front of a bright star.

The viewing was intended to help the team prepare for when the plutonium-powered New Horizons spacecraft passes by the object — nicknamed Ultima Thule (Beyond the Known World) — on New Year’s Eve. “This is the farthest exploration of anything in space that has ever taken place, by quite a lot,” said Alan Stern, project leader for NASA’s New Horizons mission. “We are way, way out there.”

For the scientists, coming to Senegal was a process of elimination. Most of the areas that offered the best viewing were in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The other options — in neighboring Mali, for example — were in areas patrolled by violent extremists.

The countryside of Senegal is peaceful, parts of it do not have electricity, and many rural areas are sparsely populated. That was a bonus for the scientists, who wanted a clear sky, free of light. Still, Senegal was a risky proposition. The area is on the cusp of the rainy season, and cloudy skies threatened to block the event, which occurred early Saturday and lasted less than a second.

Scientists are still evaluating data from the viewing, but the skies turned out to be clear and they are hopeful. Senegal was an enthusiastic host. About two dozen Senegalese astronomers and scientists, including Ms. Sylla, accompanied the New Horizons team in the field and contributed to the viewing.

African countries have racked up their own space achievements. Moroccan astronomers have discovered comets, asteroids and planets outside our solar system. Ghana’s first satellite is now orbiting the earth. Students in Tunisia have organized public events to observe the sky, even though they do not have an observatory.

“Astronomy is virtually as popular in Africa as it is everywhere in the world,” said David Baratoux, the president of the African Initiative for Planetary Sciences and Space, who is based in France.

The biggest hindrance is money. The United States spends more on its space program than the value of Senegal’s entire economy. The 21 high-powered telescopes brought by the New Horizons team were nearly double the number of telescopes available in all of Senegal.

Continue reading “How Senegal and its Astronomers are Helping NASA’s New Horizons Program Make Discoveries in Space”

Lynden A. Archer, Gary S. May and Gabriel C. Ejebe to be Inducted Into the National Academy of Engineering for 2018

Engineers Lynden A. Archer, Gary S. May and Gabriel C. Ejebe

via jbhe.com

The National Academy of Engineering has 83 new members this year. The new members bring the total number of U.S. members to 2,293. The new members will be inducted in a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on September 30.

Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to “engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature” and to “the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/ implementing innovative approaches to engineering education.”

The academy does not disclose the racial makeup of its membership, but past JBHE research has shown that Blacks make up about one percent of the members. According to an analysis of the new membership list by JBHE, it appears that there are three Black engineers among the 83 new members. Two of the three have current academic affiliations.

Lynden A. Archer is the James Friend Family Distinguished Professor of Engineering in the Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. He joined the faculty at Cornell in 2000. Professor Archer was recognized by the academy for “advances in nanoparticle-polymer hybrid materials and in electrochemical energy storage technologies.” Dr. Archer is a graduate of the University of Southern California, where he majored in chemical engineering. He holds a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Stanford University.

Gary S. May is the chancellor of the University of California, Davis. He became the seventh chancellor of the university in August 2017. Previously, he was dean of the College of Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Dr. May was selected to the academy for his “contributions to semiconductor manufacturing research and for innovations in educational programs for underrepresented groups in engineering. A native of St. Louis, Professor May is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he majored in electrical engineering. He holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of California, Berkeley.

The third African American in this year’s cohort of new members is Gabriel C. Ejebe, the senior project manager for energy trading and markets for Open Access Technology International in Minneapolis.

Source: https://www.jbhe.com/2018/07/three-african-american-men-to-be-inducted-into-the-national-academy-of-engineering/

Stephanie G. Adams Earns American Society for Engineering Education’s Harriet Tubman Award for 2018

Stephanie Adams (photo via blackengineer.com)

by Lango Deen via blackengineer.com

Stephanie G. Adams, Dean of the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology at Old Dominion University, was honored with the Harriet Tubman Award at the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) conference in June. The Tubman Award is given annually to someone who has fought to increase gender and racial diversity within the 350 accredited engineering schools that operate in the United States.

To date, African American women account for just 0.54 percent of the nation’s roughly 28,000 engineering faculty members and fewer than 1 percent of U.S. engineering students.

Jeffrey Harris, founder and managing partner of a consultancy that specializes in the recruitment and advancement of traditionally underrepresented groups in engineering, technology and medicine, presented the award in Salt Lake City. “Harriet Tubman admonished us never to stop — to keep going,” Harris said. “Dean Adams’ career is a model for Ms. Tubman’s words,”  he said.

Harris told Adams that he couldn’t imagine anyone more deserving of this year’s award — or more representative of its namesake, the 19th century abolitionist who led hundreds of enslaved people to freedom via the Underground Railroad, an elaborate network of safe houses.

An honor graduate of North Carolina A&T State University, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, Adams, 52, was selected as president-elect of the 12,000-member ASEE this March. She is committed to advancing women in academic engineering during her term in 2018-19.

“If we want to see a shift among women in engineering, we need to acknowledge that, just like in Hollywood, we must start doing some things differently,” Adams said. “Change is needed at every level.”

American Society for Engineering Education indicates that there are 368 engineering colleges in the United States. According to the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), there were 63 female engineering deans or directors across the country in January 2018, representing approximately 17% of the total leaders of engineering colleges in the U.S.

Read More: http://www.blackengineer.com/news/stephanie-g-adams-earns-2018-harriet-tubman-award/

Christina Lewis’ All Star Code Nonprofit Raises Over $1 Million to Expand STEM “Summer Intensive” Program for Boys of Color

by Selena Hill via blackenterprise.com

All Star Code (ASC) will carry out its mission to educate, prepare, and place young men of color in the tech industry through its fifth annual “Summer Intensive” STEM summer program. The nonprofit announced Tuesday that it raised over $1 million for the growth and development of the program. ASC also received a record number of applicants—nearly 1,000 for just 160 spots. According to Christina Lewis, who founded ASC in 2013, the organization is on track to educate a total of 10,000 young black and Latino men in tech and entrepreneurship by 2022.

“All Star Code’s impact continues to spread as we establish a pipeline of talented and ambitious young entrepreneurs who are ready to enter the tech industry,” said Lewis in a statement. “Tech is one of the most influential and lucrative industries, so it’s vital that Black and Latino young men are better represented in this space to capture its economic opportunity.”

BOYS WILL LEARN WEB DEVELOPMENT AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN STEM SUMMER PROGRAM 

ASC’s flagship “Summer Intensive” program is a free six-week course that teaches students web development skills and about entrepreneurship. It also empowers students with soft skills and a network of like-minded peers. It will take place in New York City and Pittsburgh.

The effectiveness of All Star Code’s curriculum is amplified by corporate partners like AT&T, Cisco, Goldman Sachs, Google, JPMorgan Chase, MLB, and Medidata, as well as the academic institutions Chatham University and the University of Pittsburgh School of Education, which provide operational and financial support and services. Through these partnerships, students will gain access to mentorships, speakers, and professional work culture.

Since its creation in 2013, about 300 students have participated in ASC’s flagship summer programs. Of the summer intensive students, 95% of All Star Code graduates have gone on to four-year colleges, while half of the graduates have created their own business or tech-related project, reads the press release.

Lewis says she was inspired by her late father, iconic businessman Reginald F. Lewis, to launch ASC as a vehicle to diversify the tech space. “I channeled his legacy to start All Star Code,” she said. Before his death in 1993, Reginald created TLC Beatrice International Holdings, the first black-owned global enterprise to earn more than a billion dollars in revenue. “I realized that if my father were a young man today, he would no doubt be working in technology, the growth industry for building wealth in the 21st century,” Lewis told Black Enterprise.

Source: http://www.blackenterprise.com/black-boys-stem-summer-program/

Ugandan Inventor Brian Gitta, 24, Wins Royal Academy of Engineering’s Prestigious Africa Prize for Bloodless Malaria Test

Brian Gitta, a 24-year-old Ugandan, became the youngest winner of the Africa Prize this week for developing a bloodless test for malaria. (Photo courtesy Royal Academy of Engineering/Twitter)

by Sara Shayanian via upi.com

June 14 (UPI) — A Ugandan inventor has won the Royal Academy of Engineering‘s prestigious Africa Prize for developing a method of testing for malaria without drawing blood.

Brian Gitta, 24, became the prize’s youngest winner Wednesday after he and his team developed Matibabu, or “medical center” in Swahili, the Royal Academy of Engineering said in a statement.

Gitta’s low-cost, reusable invention clips onto a patient’s finger and provides a result within 60 seconds on a mobile phone. A red beam shines through the user’s finger to detect changes in shape, color and concentration of red blood cells — all of which are affected by malaria.

“We are very proud of this year’s winner. It’s a perfect example of how engineering can unlock development — in this case by improving healthcare,” Africa Prize judge Rebecca Enonchong said. “Matibabu is simply a game-changer.”

Shafik Sekitto, a member of the Matibabu team, told BBC News Gitta came up with the idea for a bloodless test after it once took four normal blood tests for medics to diagnose him with malaria — the leading cause of death in Uganda. “[Gitta] brought up the idea: ‘Why can’t we find a new way of using the skills we have found in computer science, of diagnosing a disease without having to prick somebody?” Sekitto said.

Gitta won more than $33,000 as the first-place winner at a ceremony in Nairobi, Kenya, where Africa Prize judges and a live audience voted for the most promising engineering innovation. Three runners-up won more than $13,000 each. “We are incredibly honored to win the Africa Prize — it’s such a big achievement for us, because it means that we can better manage production in order to scale clinical trials and prove ourselves to regulators,” Gitta said.

“The recognition will help us open up partnership opportunities — which is what we need most at the moment.”

The award, founded by Britain’s Royal Academy of Engineering in 2014, is Africa’s biggest prize for engineering innovation.

Source: https://www.upi.com/Top_News/World-News/2018/06/14/Ugandan-inventor-wins-Africa-Prize-for-bloodless-malaria-test/9671528995279/

Ms Geek Africa Competition Rewards Women’s Brains Instead of their Beauty

Niger’s Salissou Hassane Latifa was crowned the 2018 Miss Geek Africa for her innovative new app that promises to help accident victims. (Courtesy of YouTube)

via theguardian.com

After years of women in evening gowns vying for the title of national beauty queen, glamour is giving way to geekery in Rwanda. A group of female tech entrepreneurs decided it was time to ditch Miss Rwanda for a different kind of competition, one that judged women on brilliance rather than beauty. It was time for Ms Geek.

The first Ms Geek Rwanda was crowned in 2014, and the competition has since expanded to include other African countries under the unifying banner of Ms Geek Africa. The event, open to girls and women aged 13 to 25, encourages contestants to use technology to solve everyday problems in their communities. The finalists receive business training and the winner is awarded financial backing to help realise her idea.

This year’s Ms Geek Africa is Salissou Hassane Latifa, 21, from Niger. Her winning design is the Saro app, which helps communication between people caring for accident victims and the emergency services, and allows medical staff to advise on basic first aid before they arrive at the scene.

“Ms Geek has already changed the perception of what girls can do,” says Esther Kunda of the Next Einstein Forum, a founding member of competition organiser Girls in ICT Rwanda.

Salissou Hassane Latifa, the latest Ms Geek Africa winner, has devised an app that promises to help accident victims. (Photograph Courtesy Kigali Today)

The contest was set up as part of a nationwide effort to transform Rwanda from a small agricultural economy into an engine of technological innovation, with women and girls at the forefront of the revolution.

The government has set a target of achieving gender parity in the information communications technology sector by 2020, an ambitious goal in a worldwide industry notorious for its lack of diversity. But through educational campaigns, scholarships and mentorship programmes, Rwanda is determined to become a global leader for women in ICT. “It’s a good place to be a woman in tech right now,” Kunda says of Rwanda.

Before the genocide of 1994, it was uncommon for women in Rwanda to own land, receive a formal education or hold jobs outside of the home. After the atrocity, the country’s surviving population was 60-70% female, according to contemporary accounts.

President Paul Kagame, who has led Rwanda with an iron fist since 2000, realised that advancing women was the only way forward and has championed their rights ever since.

Rwanda now leads the world in female representation in parliament, due in part to a quota system that reserves seats for women. Gender rights are enshrined in the national constitution and laws were changed to give women the right to inherit land and obtain credit.

As a child, Rosine Mwiseneza, who was orphaned during the genocide, recalls watching the women around her stepping into leadership roles in government and civil society. They became police officers, accountants, butchers, shop owners. Girls went to school and competed alongside boys for internships and scholarships.

Mwiseneza was studying business management at Kepler University in Kigali when she entered the Ms Geek contest in 2016. Her idea was for an automated irrigation system that would help farmers cultivate their fields year-round as opposed to just during the rainy season.

Mwiseneza says she was astounded when she won the competition. In that moment, she remembered her parents and all the hardships she had endured. “It was very difficult to believe,” she says. “I started thinking of everything that had passed before that day and I began to cry.”

To read more: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2018/may/28/brilliance-overtakes-beauty-ms-geek-africa-spotlights-tech-genius-salissou-hassane-latifa