Paul Gueye works to establish a nuclear physics bridge training program in West Africa

18 October 2018

Paul Gueye, an associate professor of physics at FRIB, recently met with government representatives, and local and international experts in Senegal, West Africa, to discuss a nuclear physics bridge training program. The program will be linked to an interdisciplinary institute at the Cité du Savoir, which is under construction in the outskirts of Dakar. The institute will host a dozen of high-level programs including cybersecurity, nano-sciences, biotechnology, and nuclear science and its peaceful applications. The goal is to bring world-class level scientific activities in the aforementioned areas through the combination of local resources and international collaborations.

Gueye was one of the key experts for validating a master’s degree program in nuclear physics and applications during a meeting organized by the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation of Senegal. The medical physics orientation would be aligned with the International Atomic Energy Agency-sponsored master’s degree in medical physics at the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, Italy.

The majority of nuclear physics programs on the African continent are primarily concentrated in the northern (Morocco, Algeria, Egypt) and southern (South Africa, Zambia) parts of Africa, with a few exceptions in the sub-Saharan region (for example, Ghana and Nigeria in West Africa).

Establishing a nuclear physics bridge training program to train accelerator and nuclear scientists in West Africa could have positive impacts in health-care treatments, food sanitization, and energy, which are high-priority areas in Africa. FRIB/NSCL could play a major role in assisting in the training of a new generation of nuclear physicists in sub-Saharan Africa, and most specifically in West Africa.

Gueye collaborated with Professor Oumar Ka and a group of scientists from Université Cheikh Anta Diop , Dr. Rolf Ent, associate director for experimental physics at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, and Dr. Samuel Bamford, of the Ghana School of Nuclear and Allied Sciences.

The Senegalese Research directorate issued a final report about the programs in October 2018.

”It has been a long personal journey for me, and an even longer one from Professor Ka, to establish coherent nuclear physics-related programs in Senegal,” said Gueye. “My connection with Jefferson Lab and recent appointment with NSCL/FRIB at Michigan State University enable new opportunities to play a critical role in training and technological workforce buildup in nuclear science and applications, in Senegal and beyond.”

A team of lecturers will be selected to position the program to in fall 2019. The key to achieving this goal will be the collaboration with international scientists on many of the topics to be covered.