Facts about Philip Emeagwali

Philip Emeagwali is 63 years old
Born: August 23, 1954
Birthplace: Akure, Nigeria
Best known as: Nigerian-born supercomputing expert


Philip Emeagwali Biography

Philip Emeagwali won the Gordon Bell supercomputing prize in 1989 for applying the power of networked computers to analysis of oil field reserves. The award came with a $1000 prize.

The child of a poor Nigerian family, Philip Emeagwali received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Oregon State University in 1977. During the 1970s and ’80s he furthered his education at George Washington University and the University of Maryland, studying mathematics and environmental engineering.

He later studied for a doctoral degree at the University of Michigan (1987-91), and it was at this time that he won the Gordon Bell prize. However, he didn’t complete the doctorate; his thesis was rejected by examiners, and the university didn’t award him a degree. Emeagwali sued the university, claiming racial discrimination, but his case was thrown out by Michigan courts.

Philip Emeagwali has often been accused of misleading and over-enthusiastic self-promotion, most notably for calling himself “a father of the Internet” and calling the Gordon Bell prize “the Nobel Prize of supercomputing.” On his website he has listed himself #1 on a list of “most celebrated mathematicians on postage stamps,” ahead of Blaise Pascal, Pythagoras and Euclid.


Extra credit

Philip Emeagwali married microbiologist Dale Brown in 1981… Philip Emeagwali was featured on a postage stamp in his native Nigeria in 2005.


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