Professor Francis Nneka Okeke


Professor Francis Nneka Okeke is a physicist who made a mark in science at a time when such was not common with women – With a PhD in ionospheric geophysics, the outstanding academic contributed greatly to the understanding of climate change –

Among her many laudable accolades was the L’Oreal-UNESCO for Women and Science Award, a marker of great recognition to women in science Professor Francis Nneka Okeke is one of the few Nigerians who are making remarkable achievements in the academic world. She is a strong contributor to the understanding of climate change.

For the above contribution, she was given the L’Oreal-UNESCO for Women and Science Award. A known Nigerian physicist, she is also the first female head of the department at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Nneka had her BSc in Physics in 1980 before proceeding to PGD in education in 1983. In 1985, she got her MSc in education and another masters in applied earth geophysics in 1989. Six years after in 1995, she got her doctorate degree in ionospheric geophysics.

The professor also said she believes in setting an example with good leadership.

In her interview with the media, she said she had always wanted to be a physicist right from childhood, adding that she wondered how the firmaments were the way they were as a little girl. The professor also attributed her early interest in science to her father who was a mathematician. She became a brilliant physicist at a time when the field was very much male-dominated. Apart from the sought-after UNESCO award she got in 2013, she is a fellow of world-class academies like the World Academy Science, African Academy of Science, and Japanese Society for Promotion of Science, among several others. She has also published several papers and written 15 books.

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