Preamble written by Egbert Faibille. Jnr:
I see that world renowned Physicist and Mathematician, Prof. F.K.A. Allotey is trending on social media because a lot of serious minded Ghanaians watched him on CNN’s AFRICAN VOICES.
We of Ghana National College, the secondary school he attended, recently on 20th February, 2015 honoured him with a citation after he delivered a lecture in honour of the Founder and four founding teachers of our school.
Below is the citation as presented to him after the lecture. We have learnt to appreciate our own.
CITATION PRESENTED TO NANA PROF. FRANCIS KOFI AMPENYIN
ALLOTEY BY GHANA NATIONAL COLLEGE OLD STUDENTS’ ASSOCIATION
You were born at Saltpond, in the then Gold Coast (now Ghana) on the 9th day of August, 1932 to Papa Joseph Allotey, a trader originally from Accra who settled at Saltpond and his wife, Alice, a dressmaker of Saltpond.
Your life story reveals that at age two years you compelled your father to take you to a nursery school close to your home, a development which was very unusual at that time. You were enrolled at that nursery school but were not charged any fees because you were not of nursery-going age.
In your infancy you got lost after school one day and could not be found till midnight after a search party had combed virtually the entire Saltpond looking for you. When you were found, you told your father that during the period you were missing you had actually been in a room where you could hear people talking and during which period you could not move; even though you could not tell where.
Despite your early nursery school attendance, by age nine you had still not been enrolled in any formal school after the ‘completion’ of your nursery school because your father had decided, after two near brushes you had with death to employ a teacher to teach you at home; rather than let you out of his sight for fear that he and your mother could lose you. In the period you were not in school you helped your father at his store to sell and marvelled all with your dexterity in computing sales and the daily account of sales.
Alarmed by your continued stay at home, your maternal grand uncle, maternal uncle and maternal grandmother succeeded in convincing your parents to enroll you in a formal school following a dawn meeting with them (your parents) at their request.
Whilst a pupil of the Roman Catholic Middle School, Saltpond, you heard that Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah of the Convention People’s Party (CPP) had founded Ghana National College for a number of students of the three all-boys secondary schools in Cape Coast. These students had been dismissed from their schools for daring to embark on a demonstration to protest the detention of the ‘Big Six’ in the wake of the 28th February, 1948 shooting of some ex-servicemen and the subsequent nationwide looting and disturbances.
Barely 16 years old at the time and having heard of Ghana National College, you made up your mind to attend that school. This desire you brought to your father’s immediate attention. Your father, upon being told of your desire informed you that that Ghana National College had been started mid-stream and did not have any students enrolled in Form One; your father having read about the school’s founding in Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s newspaper, The Evening News. You nevertheless persisted and demanded money from your father for transportation to travel to Cape Coast to make enquiries about enrolling at Ghana National College for your secondary education.
On arrival at Ghana National College, you met the foundING teachers’ –Messrs. Kwesi Plange, Mensah-Kane, Nelson and Sackeyfio at a meeting. On disclosing your desire to enroll, you were informed by these gentlemen that Ghana National College, true to your father’s caution did not have any students in Form One at the time. You persisted and demanded to be admitted. In the end, you were asked to come back in a week’s time; and even then it was to see what could be done for you.
On your return in a week’s time, the founding teachers had no option than to give you immediate admission as the first and only Form One student at Ghana National College. It was not until later that the school began admitting other students to Form One.
You acquitted yourself well in your studies by the accounts of the founding teachers such that by 1952, your horizon was broadened beyond the walls of Ghana National College. You desired to travel to England for further studies but did not possess a passport.
To Liberia you travelled alone at age 19 to acquire a British passport as immigration controls at the time had been arranged in such a manner that the Gold Coast could only issue a West African Travelling Certificate to persons who desired to travel to places in West Africa from the Gold Coast. Gold Coasters who desired to travel to England had to travel to Liberia to apply for and obtain a British passport.
Providence shone on you on this journey when you came into contact with a fellow traveller, Mr. Etti, a Nigerian who treated you as his ward throughout the journey and took you to a Ghanaian community of fishermen in Liberia before continuing his journey. In the course of waiting for your British passport in Liberia, you became friends with a group of boys who used to play football on a lawn close to the Executive Mansion, the presidential palace of that country. One of these boys turned out to be Bobby Tubman, son of then President Tubman of Liberia. Bobby Tubman assisted you in securing your British passport through his father’s Secretary. On acquiring your British passport you travelled back to Saltpond via the Takoradi Harbour on MV S.S. Apapa.
Whilst waiting to conclude your travel arrangements to England for further studies, you taught at a privately owned secondary school at Saltpond. After only a month of teaching at that school, you founded a co-educational secondary school called Fanti Confederation Secondary Technical College. The school in spite of its nascent nature attracted an overwhelming number of students and had boarding facilities. You were the headmaster of this school and taught Mathematics, French and Science.
The Mfantsiman Council, thinking that it had proprietory rights over the use of ‘Fante Confederation’ which words you had used as part of the name of your school issued a writ of summons in a court of law against you. Eventually that suit was settled out of court and your school’s name was changed to ‘Fanti State Secondary Technical College.’
In 1953, you left your school in the care of your brother, Augustine Allotey and travelled to England to begin further studies; which began at University Tutorial College, London. You continued at Borough Polytechnic, London. You also attended the Imperial College of Science and Technology, London and Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, United States of America.
Many do not know that whilst an undergraduate student reading Mathematical Sciences at Borough Polytechnic your excellent performance resulted in an application at your instance to some professors being accepted such that you were permitted to skip the undergraduate degree course and instead enrolled in the Master’s degree programme at the Imperial College of Science and Technology. That was phenomenal. That admission was premised on the fact that you were made by Professor Harry Jones, Head of the Mathematical Sciences and Dr. Raimes, a Reader, all of the Imperial College of Science and Technology to solve two complex mathematical problems impromptu when you walked in on an unscheduled first visit on the ground that you told them you had solved all the mathematical problems required for the award of your first degree even though you were yet to reach the year of graduation at Borough Polytechnic. Simply put, you did not have a first degree yet you were admitted to study for a Master’s degree. That occurrence had never been experienced at Imperial College of Science and Technology before your admission and has never been experienced after yours.
On completion of your studies at the Imperial College of Science and Technology, you returned to Ghana on the 2nd day of December, 1960; upon accepting an appointment as a Lecturer at the Department of Mathematics at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST).
In 1962, you were enrolled in a Phd (Mathematics) programme at Princeton University. You were the first African to study at the Mathematics Department of that university. It was while studying at that university that your world renowned ALLOTEY FORMALISM was established. Of this theory, it has been said and established thus: Matter is made up of atoms and an atom consists of electrons and nucleus. Inside the nucleus are protons and neutrons the nature of which is unknown. Each electron in an atom revolves on its own axis around the nucleus. The Hydrogen nucleus has one proton. Whereas there is only one nucleus in an atom, there can be several electrons each with its own axis. Electrons are negatively charged, protons are positively charged but neutrons have no charge at all. As the electrons revolve round the nucleus, they occasionally jump into it, and in the process emit radiation. When an electron jumps to a hole in the nucleus, Gamma rays are emitted. When an inner electron jumps into a hole in the core of the nucleus, soft x-rays are emitted. The accepted theory prior to your discovery was that the hole had no effect on an electron before it moved. Through your research work, you were able to prove through complicated mathematical calculations that electrons jump into nucleus only after the nucleus has had an effect called ‘resonance scattering’ on it.
In 1972, whilst a Lecturer at KNUST, you also founded and became the first Director of the Computer Science Centre at that institution, thereby becoming a pioneer in Computer Science education in Ghana.
You also became the Pro-Vice Chancellor of KNUST in 1978.
Whilst teaching at KNUST, you also became the first Ghanaian Full Professor of Mathematics in 1973.
You were also the Chairman of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission at various times.
In 1979, you were appointed by the United Nations Secretary General a member of a group of 12 experts to advise that body on nuclear weapons.
Since 1996 you have been a member of the Scientific Council of the world renowned International Centre for Theoretical Physics, Trieste, Italy.
The rest of your numerous achievements are written in gold all over the scientific world.
Today, on the occasion of the 1st Nkrumah-Plange-Mensah-Kane-Nelson-Sackeyfio Lecture, which you have delivered on the topic, SCIENCE, TECHNOLOGY & SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT, AN AFRICAN CHALLENGE, Ghana National College and Nananom wish to express profound appreciation to you for your contributions to the school, alumni affairs and the world.
May your research findings continue to illuminate the path of scientific research and findings in Ghana, Africa and the world.
DATED AT ACCRA, THIS 20TH DAY OF FEBRUARY, 2015.