Person: Obi, Chike Edozien Umezei
Chike Obi was a Nigerian mathematician and politician. He was the first Nigerian to hold a doctorate in mathematics. His research was on non-linear ordinary differential equations.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- Joseph Chike Edozien Obi, born on 28 July 1925 in Asaba, is recorded as having the same parents.
- Joseph Obi studied medicine and became a university professor.
- We note that Chike Obi was brought up a Roman Catholic, remaining of that faith throughout his life, but he showed his open mindedness by naming one of his sons Mustafa, a Muslim name.
- Chike attended St Patrick's Primary School, Zaria, and obtained his Standard Six Certificate in 1933 before moving to Christ the King College, Onitsha in 1935.
- Obi attended this school until 1939 when he was awarded a West African School Certificate.
- Obi took the college courses in 1940-42 but in 1941 he also began taking the correspondence courses as a University of London external student.
- Obi began studying as a University of London external student for an M.Sc. and he won a scholarship to fund attending the University of Cambridge to undertake research for a doctorate.
- Obi submitted his first paper Subharmonic solutions of non-linear differential equations of the second order to the Journal of the London Mathematical Society in 1949 and it was published in 1950.
- Before returning to Nigeria, Obi spent time at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the United States, under the Foreign Students Summer Project.
- The policy of Kemalism which Obi followed is the policy implemented by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk to move Turkey to a modern Westernised society.
- Obi served as the first secretary-general of the Dynamic Party.
- Their two eldest sons are Balogun Chike-Obi, who studied physics who became a professor of the University of Ilorin, and Mustafa Chike-Obi who obtained a degree in mathematics, then had a career in finance.
- Balogun Chike-Obi has published books such as Collisionless Magnetic Reconnection (1982).
- In 1953, in addition to the book Our Struggle, Obi published two mathematical papers, both in Volume 28 of the Journal of the London Mathematical Society, namely Periodic solutions of non-linear differential equations of order 2n and A non-linear differential equation of the second order with periodic solutions whose associated limit cycles are algebraic curves.
- Obi was in England in the summer of 1947 and returned from Liverpool to Lagos on the Apapa, leaving on 11 July.
- In 1959 Obi was promoted to Senior Lecturer in Mathematics at the University of Ibadan.
- Obi was elected as member for Onitsha Urban East to the Eastern House Assembly in November 1961 but refused to give up his seat in the Federal Parliament.
- The Speaker of the Parliament ordered that Obi be physically removed by security guards, which is exactly what happened.
- Obi then decided that he would devote himself to regional rather than national affairs.
- Chike Obi was one of the people arrested and detained with Chief Obafemi Awolowo on the charge of treasonable felony.
- Also in 1962 Obi published Our Struggle Part II.
- Regional governments were abolished which was why Obi ceased to be a member of the Eastern House Assembly.
- Onitsha was in Biafra and with Obi a Christian, the Biafran side was the obvious one for him to support.
- With the end of the Biafran war, Obi returned to mathematics.
- Back into mathematics at the University of Lagos, Obi began mathematical research again having not published a paper since 1955.
- But Chike Obi was not mean; in fact, he was the opposite.
- But no other teacher of mine was as tolerant of me as Chike Obi.
- Although Obi returned to full time mathematics in 1970, he did not give up his attempts to improve the lot of Nigerians.
- In 1985 Obi was awarded the Sigvard Eklund Prize.
- Obi travelled to the International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste in November 1986 to receive the prize.
- Earlier Obi had been honoured with election to the Nigerian Academy of Science in 1977, being one of those elected at the establishment of the Academy on 18 January 1977.
- Most biographies of Obi relate how he solved Fermat's Last Theorem in 1997 providing an elementary proof.
- Obi is one of several leading mathematicians who, when fairly old, have believed, incorrectly, that they have solved a major mathematical problem.
Born 7 April 1921, Zaria, Nigeria. Died 13 March 2008, Onitsha, Anambra state, Nigeria.
View full biography at MacTutor
Tags relevant for this person:
African, Origin Nigeria
Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive