In the recent weeks, there was an announcement in the media of a Nigerian Mathematician claiming to prove Riemann Hypothesis. The negative reaction to this claim can be divided into two camps mathematicians and non-mathematicians. Negative comments from some non-mathematician tended to focus on the said mathematician’s background, for example, how possibly could an African mathematician solve this problem. These comments and equivalents were an utter disgrace. On the other hand some (but not all) mathematicians tended to focus in the strength and clarity of the mathematical argument. Recognizing that this problem is the hardest mathematical problem in the world, they were more interested in the possibility of the mathematical frontier being pushed forward. Alas, the proof has not stood up well to mathematical scrutiny,
even a Nigerian journalist blog was less than flattering
So will the said mathematician win the $1 million Clay award? Was this an hoax or an over enthusiastic mathematician that did not produce a comprehensive proof? Only time will tell but if I thought I had solve the world greatest maths problem, I would of have the leading mathematicians in the field check my solution before I announced it to the world media!
Nevertheless, despite the lack of Black Mathematicians in the wider mathematical community, there are those gems who have won awards!
In 1997 Dr. Kathleen Adebola Okikiolu became the first black recipient of a Sloan Research Fellowship. In 1997 she also was awarded a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers for both her mathematical research and her development of mathematics curricula for inner-city school children. This award is given to only 60 scientists and engineers each year and has a prize of $500,000.
Dr. Jonathan Farley is the 2004 recipient of the Harvard Foundation’s Distinguished Scientist of the Year Award, a medal presented on behalf of the president of Harvard University in recognition of “outstanding achievements and contributions in the field of mathematics.” The City of Cambridge, Massachusetts (home to both Harvard University and MIT) officially declared March 19, 2004 to be “Dr. Jonathan David Farley Day.” In 2004, Dr. Farley was recruited to serve as Head of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at The University of the West Indies (Jamaica).
David Harold Blackwell (April 24, 1919 – July 8, 2010) was Professor Emeritus of Statistics at the University of California, Berkeley, won the National Medal of Science (posthumously) in 2014.
Like that hashtag, Girls can Code. Maybe despite of all the negative press, I should start a new one;