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Home arrow Africa arrow Emeagwali’s insistence on degrees muddles defence
Emeagwali’s insistence on degrees muddles defence PDF Print E-mail
Written by Musikilu Mojeed, NEXT   
Nov 22, 2010 at 02:20 AM

In a bid to defend himself against allegations of fraudulent claims leveled against him by leading American scientists,American-based Nigerian scientist, Philip Emeagwali, has told a new set of lies, an investigation has shown.In an article he published on ‘nigeriavillagesquare.com’,a Nigerian Internet discussion forum, to deflect the damaging allegations against him, Mr. Emeagwali claimed he had a 17-year academic career in eight-degree programmes at five universities.

He added that he bagged “an equivalent of six degrees in mathematics and Engineering” from those universities.But NEXT checks at the universities Mr. Emeagwali usually claim to have attended indicate that he has just three academic degrees from three universities.

The embattled scientist earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from the Oregon State University in 1977; a Masters in Mathematics from the University of Maryland in 1986; and another Masters in Ocean and Marine Engineering (not civil and marine engineering as he often claims) from George Washington University in 1986.

Contrary to his claim that he earned a first degree from the University of London after self-study -as contained in a profile of himself he provided to the Institute of Electronic and Electrical Engineering,(IEEE), Lisa Pierre, the alumni relations’ manager of the university said there is no record to back such a claim.“I can’t find him in our database,” Ms Pierre said in response to the enquiry.

In the same IEEE profile, Mr. Emeagwali claimed he earned a doctorate in civil engineering (scientific computing) from the University of Michigan.But the spokesperson for the university,Deborah Greene, said although Mr. Emeagwali attended the university, he was not awarded a degree because he failed to complete the requirements for a Ph.D.

That was even after the university agreed to waive some of their requirements for candidacy.To buttress her points, Ms Greene referred NEXT to the judgment of a 1996 case Mr. Emeagwali instituted against her university claiming that the university discriminated against him because of his race.

But, in an unanimous judgment delivered in October 29, 1999, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled against Mr. Emeagwali,saying he could not have been awarded a doctorate after he failed to pass his examination.

“Plaintiff did not take his qualifying examination until May 1991. He failed this examination, was given an opportunity to retake the examination in July 1991,and failed this examination as well,” Judges P.J. Murphy, Holbrook, Jr. and J.J. Gage, ruled.

Mr. Emeagwali’s dissertation was also found to have fallen far short of the standard expected of a doctoral candidate.“Plaintiff submitted his dissertation on July 24, 1992. The university faculty members who ultimately reviewed the dissertation did not view it favorably,” the judgment said. “On June 17, 1993,Gulari (a professor in Mr. Emeagwali’s department) notified plaintiff that the engineering college faculty had concluded that his thesis was not worthy of a doctorate degree.”

Contacted by NEXT, Mr. Emeagwali refused to respond to specific questions.“Please remove us from you email list,” his wife, Donita Brown, who responded to our enquiry on his behalf, said. “As we said at emeagwali.com, his list of patent claims and degrees, “father of the internet,” discoveries and inventions will be discussed in our weekly series. We will post information by our weekly schedule, not your daily one.Once again, remove us from your list.”

Exaggerating accomplishments

Adesuyi Ajayi, a professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Chicago State University College of Pharmacy, blamed Mr.Emeagwali’s fraudulent claims on his failure to obtain a doctorate.

“I believe his inability to obtain his PhD led him to develop an inferiority complex , which he then responded to by exaggerating his modest accomplishments, and misinforming some media places and tolerating lies, fabrications and distortions about his scientific non-accomplishments,” Mr. Ajayi said in response to enquiry. “He became a serial exaggerator and transformed to a liar.”

Following a $1,000 Gordon Bell Prize he won in 1989, Mr. Emeagwali proceeded to claim, for several years, that he was a father of the Internet; that he improved upon Isaac Newton’s laws of motion; that he owned the world’s first personal website; that American computer giant, Apple, uses the microprocessor technology he pioneered in its Power Mac G4 model, among many other claims.

But NEXT, in a report in its November 7 edition,quoted some leading American scientists as describing Mr. Emeagwali’s claim that he was a father of the Internet as misleading.

The Nigerian government later said through its Minister of Information and Communication, Dora Akunyili, that it would investigate the allegations against the scientist to enable it decide whether to remove his image from the Nigerian stamp.


Posted by Dr Michael K Oladimeji on NEXT Nov 21 2010

This is very sad for Philip and Nigeria. I met Philip at the George Washington University Computer Center in late '70s, almost always at night as the card punching machines were less busy at those nocturnal times. I finished and submitted my Dissertation at the end of 1979 at the School of Engineering. He was not an Engineering Student and did not represent himself to me as an Engineering Student. I am glad NEXT cleared up this point 'Masters in Ocean and Marine Engineering (not civil and marine engineering as he often claims) from George Washington University in 1986.' I am attesting to the fact that he was at GWU in the late '70s but not in the Engineering School. As you can see it is quite a gap between 1979 and 1986, it is possible he came or stayed around to complete a requirement for whatever he was working on at the time we met. Obviously, parallel processing and IP based internet are not the same thing, but I am sure Philip will provide explanation necessary to clear up this unfortunate situation at the appropriate time. Incidentally, 64,000 computers, which could hold 256 IP (Class C) addresses each are obviously like comparing apples and oranges (IP based and Parallel processing). But I am sure Philip has explanations for all these, so let us wait patiently while he provides them. Nigeria deserves chap minds, but let us hope we are not dealing with another Adamu or some Brooklyn Bridge sellers! Good luck to Philip and Nigeria.

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