The late Prof F.K.A. Allotey—The “Formalism” Man

Professor Francis Kofi Ampenyin Allotey, the sweet-scented name that had for two decades and more, filled the scientific and academic world with its fragrance was a Professor of Mathematics, Scholar, Nuclear Physicist and a Consultant in Informatics for Development.

Prof Allotey, born in August 1932 in Saltpond in the Central Region of Ghana, received his early education at the Ghana National College among the 1952 pioneer group. He pursued further studies at the University Tutorial College, London Borough Polytechnic and London Imperial College of Science and Technology where he obtained the then coveted Diploma of Imperial College (London) in 1960.

He returned in the same year to take up a lectureship position in the Department of Mathematics at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). He had a distinguished academic career at the KNUST rising from the position of a lecturer to a full Professor of Mathematics and Head of Department within seven years. This was after his return in 1966 from study leave at Princeton University where he obtained his Master’s and Doctorate degrees.

Founder and First Director of the KNUST Computer Centre, he was the first to introduce computer education into Ghana. The Faculty Board between 1971 and 1980 elected him four times as the Dean of the Faculty of Science. During this same period, he was elected five times as a Representative of the Academic Staff. He was ultimately appointed as the Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University in 1978. He became a world authority and an instant fame with his work on Soft X-Ray Spectroscopy which established the principle widely known as the “Allotey Formalism” for which he received the Prince Philip Gold Medal Award in 1973.

At the national level he held the positions of Chairman, Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, Chairman, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Chairman of the Management Board, Soil Research Institute, Chairman, Ghana Technical Committee on Nuclear Energy, Vice-President, Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, President, Ghana Institute of Physics, National Vice-President Ghana Science Association, President, Mathematical Association of Ghana, Vice-Chairman of the Science and Technology Sector, National Development Commission, Consultant, National Committee of Curriculum Development, Founder and National Coordinator, Ghana Energy Research Group, President, Ghana Institute of Physics and Member ,National Energy Commission.

At the international level he gave several seminars in universities in USA, Europe, Asia and Africa on his Research Work and participated and contributed in many International conferences and symposia by invitation. He published many papers in international journals. He also acted as external examiner and also as an external assessor for professorial appointments for universities inside and outside Ghana.

He was a Consultant to several International Institutions, including United Nations Organisation, United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), International Atomic Energy Agency, Intergovernmental Bureau for Information, and United Nations Industrial and Development Organisation.

He also visited many nuclear installations in Russia, Poland, East Germany, Iraq, USA, India, West Germany, United Kingdom, Sweden, Yugoslavia etc.

He was involved locally and internationally on policies and issues related to science and technology for development. Thus he was a focal for UN Advanced Technology Alert System since its formation. He was a Co-author of the Book “Comprehensive study of Nuclear Weapons,” a UN Secretary General’s Report.

He held numerous appointments, including the following: Visiting Scientist, International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), President, Society of African Physicists and Mathematicians, Member, International panel of authors who wrote Entebbe Mathematics Series for Africa, Visiting Scientist, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden, Appointed to contribute a chapter on a book “Band Spectroscopy of Metals and Alloys” in honour of the 70th birthday of Sir Neville Mott, a Nobel Prize Winner.

Other positions were; member of the organizing panel for the 3rd Congress held in Karlsruhe for the International Commission on Mathematical Instructions, Director, Summer College of Teaching of Physics at the tertiary level, International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy, member of the Editorial Board of the Ethiopian Journal of science, Vice President, African Union of Physicists, member, Advisory Planning Committee of the 1984 International Conference on the Physics of super lattices, super structure interfaces and micro devices, USA, President, Society of African Physicists and Mathematicians, Co-Founder and joint organiser of the Annual Abidjan Symposium of Mathematics Series, Organiser and Chairman, Workshop on curriculum development and design in Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science for Universities in Africa, Organiser and Chairman, State of Physics and Mathematics in Africa, member of International experts who did feasibility studies for publishing a journal of science for Africa, Innovation and Discovery.

The rest were member of Executive, Africa Mathematical Union, Organiser and Chairman, First Addis Ababa School of Applicability of Environmental Physics and Meteorology in Africa, member, Steering Committee for the Energy Agency beyond the year 2000,” member, UNESCO Physics Action Council, member, Scientific Council of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, member, Technical Advisory Committee, Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South, Governor, International Atomic Energy Agency, member, UNESCO Physics Action Council, member, Scientific Council of the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, member, Technical Advisory Committee, Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South, Governor, International Atomic Energy Agency, member of Preparatory Committee and Vice-President of the Conference on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in Geneva, Switzerland, Appointed by the Secretary-General of United Nations to be among a group of 12 experts commissioned to advise United Nations in Nuclear Weapons,
member, Sub-Committee on Technology transfer of the UN Conference on New and renewable Energy Sources, Vice-President of the Preparatory Committee of the UN Conference for promotion of international peaceful uses of Nuclear Energy, Organizer and Chairman, UNESCO/ANSTI International Conference on Renewable Energy, Vice president, 7th General Assembly of Intergovernmental Bureau of Informatics (IBI), Organiser and Chairman of International UNESCO and IBI Conference on Informatics for Development, Chairman, Panel Discussion on Financial and quantitative aspects of Computer Education in developing in France-1975 Organiser and Chairman, “IFIP CONGRESS80” section on Computer Education in developing Countries in Australia-1980, member of International Panel on Requirements of developing Countries Regarding Informatics Education in Switzerland Invited by IBM International to join a Group European Professors touring Computer Science Centers in Universities in USA and Canada for four weeks Chairman, International Working Party for the Analysis of Economics and Commercial Impact of Transferred Data Flow in Italy member of Advisory Panel, Transnational Data Report in Amsterdam, Holland Rapporteur, Scientific and Technological Communication, a USA sponsored Regional Seminar for Africa, member of Executive Secretariat Responsible for Sensitizing African Leaders on Modern Technology for development, member of Editorial Board, Journal of Information Technology for development , member of International Consultative Committee on Transborder Data Flow (TDF) Consultant to IBI Centres in Africa Chairman, Information technology for development, Williamsburg Conference on International Information Economy, USA  member, UNCSTTD Editorial Workshop in Rome for Advanced Information Technology Trend and Global Implications A discussant and a
member of panel Information Economy Risks and Opportunities, Atwater Institute, Quebec, Canada.

The renowned Mathematician died on Thursday, November 2, 2017 in Germany. He was 85 years old.

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