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Faculty Spotlight on Dr. Kofi Nuroh

Faculty Spotlight - Dr. Kofi Nuroh 

Dr. Kofi Nuroh

IMAGE: Dr. Kofi Nuroh
Dr. Kofi Nuroh, Kent State University at Salem's recently promoted professor of mathematics, is more than one of the campus' teachers. Although Nuroh instructs students in both mathematics and physics, outside the classroom he is a skilled researcher whose study of the behavior of electrons and condensed matter has been published in leading scientific journals such as Physical Review, Physica Scripta, Solid State Communications and Physical Review Letters.

In addition to his published research, Nuroh presented "Many-body Theory of Atomic Systems" at a Nobel Symposium after earning his doctoral degree in mathematical physics at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden. This was given by that year's Noble Prize Winners Sheldon Lee Glashow, Abdus Salam and Steven Weinberg, who jointly won the award.

Prior to coming to Kent State Salem, Nuroh was a research associate at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. During this post he was the primary author of "Giant Resonances in Atoms, Molecules and Solids," research that he presented at the NATO Advanced Studies Institute in Les Houches, France.

"It was an honor to be invited," Nuroh said of the presentation. "These are places where experts from all over the world gather to share information and provide insight."

Nuroh's success has not come without hard work and perhaps, even, a bit of luck. The Ghana native grew up in a small village in this developing nation where running water and electricity were nonexistent. With 12 hours of daylight, one of his many chores was fetching water for cooking and bathing in the morning before heading off to school. Homework was often done by the dim light of a candle. As a youngster, when he did not receive the grade he thought he deserved on a subjective essay, he turned his attention towards mathematics.

"You could prove it; it's logically based and there isn't any memorizing," he said with a smile during a recent interview. "I wanted to be able to prove I was right."

Through his excellent academic and ping pong skills, Nuroh earned scholarships that allowed him to attend an elite high school and the University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana, where he first earned an honors bachelor's in mathematics, followed by a Master's of Science in Mathematics and Physics.

Because Ghana is a developing country, exams and theses must be verified by another institution. Nuroh's master's thesis was reviewed by a professor from the Institute of Theoretical Physics at Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden, who was so impressed with the manuscript he asked if Nuroh would want to study at his university. Although Nuroh's original intent was stay in Ghana and make a positive impact, political unrest did not allow him to do so. Instead, he accepted the invitation, joined the Solid State Physics group whose head was then the Chairman of the Nobel Prize Committee in Physics, earned a scholarship and went on to complete his doctoral degree.

Nuroh hopes one day he can use his knowledge and research to help Ghana, which is more stable than when he left. Although he has no plans to return soon, he still hopes to go back.

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