African Institute for Mathematical Sciences

African Institute for Mathematical Sciences
Motto Building Science in Africa
Type Private, Boarding, Non-profit
Established 2003
Students 75 students (2012)
Location South Africa Muizenberg, Western Cape, South Africa
34°06′26″S 18°28′14″E / 34.1072°S 18.4706°E / -34.1072; 18.4706Coordinates: 34°06′26″S 18°28′14″E / 34.1072°S 18.4706°E / -34.1072; 18.4706
Scholarship $10,000

The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) is a tertiary education and research institute in Muizenberg, South Africa, established in September 2003. AIMS was formed as a partnership between the following universities: University of Stellenbosch, University of Cambridge, University of Cape Town, University of Oxford, University of Paris-Sud, and University of the Western Cape.


AIMS was founded by Neil Turok in 2003, while he was Chair of Mathematical Physics at Cambridge University. Neil Turok is the son of Ben Turok, an ANC MP. In 2008 Turok became Executive Director of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.


Structured Masters

AIMS's flagship programme is a 10-month Structured Masters programme in the Mathematical Sciences. The programme was upgraded in 2012 from a Postgraduate Diploma. The master's degree is conferred by the three South African universities in the partnership. Students from Africa can apply for full scholarships, including travel, board & lodging, tuition, and a stipend. AIMS is committed to greater participation by women in science and a geographically representative student body from the African continent.

Visiting faculty have included David MacKay, Bernt Øksendal, David Aschman (Cape Town), Alan Beardon (Cambridge), Jordi Campos (Barcelona), Jesus Cerquides (Spanish National Research Council), Patrick Dorey (Durham), Pedro Ferreira (Oxford), Jan Govaerts (Leuven), Barry Green (Stellenbosch), Gordon Johnson (Houston), Dirk Laurie (Stellenbosch), Sanjoy Mahajan (MIT, Olin), Vincent Rivasseau (University of Paris), Bernd Schroers (Heriot-Watt), Robert de Mello Koch (Witwatersrand), Rob Beezer (University of Puget Sound), Jeff Sanders (United Nations University International Institute for Software Technology), and Tadashi Tokieda (Cambridge). Each visiting lecturer teaches an intensive three-week-long module.

The goal of the programme is to produce students capable of doing a high quality research-based master's degree. Special emphasis is placed on intuitive understanding, problem solving skills, collaboration, scientific writing skills, and computer modelling using Free Software such as SageMath, SciPy, and R.

AIMS offers bursaries for many alumni continuing studies in South Africa.

Honours Degree in Mathematical Biology

AIMS, in conjunction with University of Stellenbosch, offers an honours degree in Mathematical Biology for South African students.

Honours Degree in Mathematical Finance

An honours degree in Mathematical Finance is being offered for South African students in conjunction with University of Stellenbosch and the University of Cape Town.

Master's and doctoral studies

In the AIMS Research Centre students, often AIMS alumni, study towards a MSc or PhD degree under supervision of a resident researcher in Mathematical Biology and Mathematical Finance.


AIMS was the subject of a talk[1] by Neil Turok after he received the TED Prize in 2008.[2] Neil Turok's TED wish was that, within his lifetime, an African Einstein would be celebrated.

The AIMS-Next Einstein Initiative (AIMS-NEI)[3] is a plan to create 15 more AIMS centres across Africa. These centres aim to create educational conditions and scientific resources equivalent to the more developed continents to fulfil Neil Turok's TED wish.

The first three centres after South Africa are in Senegal,[4] Ghana[5] and Cameroon. AIMS Senegal began operation in September, 2011 in Mbour, near Dakar, and AIMS Ghana opened its doors in 2012 in the small coastal city of Biriwa. An earlier centre based at the African University of Science and Technology (AUST[6]) in Nigeria was known as AIMS-Abuja[7][8] for a while.

AIMS-NEI is a continuation of the work of the African Mathematical Institutes Network (AMI-Net).[9]

Research centre

AIMS hosts a research centre that opened in May 2008. Stephen Hawking visited the AIMS research centre and AIMS-NEI launch.[10][11][12][13][14]

The centre specialises in Mathematical Biology, Industrial Mathematics, Mathematical Finance, Astrophysics & Cosmology,[15] and Computer Algebra. Bursaries are offered for Master's and doctoral studies.


AIMS hosts a School Enrichment Centre which offers free learning resources and professional development courses for South African mathematics teachers.[16]

Workshops and conferences

AIMS regularly hosts short conferences or workshops in Mathematics and its applications, especially in Physics, Mathematical Finance, Epidemiology. Other topics include Scientific Modelling or System Administration using Ubuntu Linux as a platform.

Public lectures

Regular public lectures[17] on a wide range of topics are offered by eminent scientists at the forefront of research in their field.


AIMS is sponsored by international corporations, international development organisations, and the South African departments of Education and Science and Technology.

In February 2010 Google donated $1 million to AIMS.[18]

In July 2010 Canada committed $20 CDN million of federal funding to AIMS and the AIMS-NEI project.[19][20][21] The funds will be administered by the International Development Research Centre and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.

In September 2010 AIMS-NEI was awarded US$2 million from Google's Project 10^100.[22]

Individuals donate to AIMS on GivenGain.[23]


  1. "TED talk about AIMS, by Neil Turok". TED.
  2. "TED Prize 2008: Dave Eggers and Tutoring, Neil Turok and the next African Einstein, Karen Armstrong and the Charter for Compassion". TED. 28 February 2008.
  3. "AIMS-NextEinstein Initiative". 21 January 2010.
  4. "AIMS-Senegal". 4 May 2013. Archived from the original on 26 September 2011.
  5. "AIMS-Ghana". AIMS-Ghana.
  6. "African University of Science and Technology".
  7. "Seeking an African Einstein".
  8. "AIMS Abuja Opens". Archived from the original on 3 April 2012.
  9. "African Mathematical Institutes Network".
  10. "Stephen Hawking to visit AIMS Research Centre Launch".
  11. Andrew Norfolk (7 July 2011). "Stephen Hawking in hunt for Africa's hidden talent".
  12. "Stephen Hawking meets Nelson Mandela for AIMS". 15 May 2008.
  13. Stephen Hawking Meets Nelson Mandela Archived 4 January 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  14. "Stephen Hawking seeks 'Einsteins of Africa'". 7 July 2008.
  15. "Cosmology at AIMS".
  16. "AIMS-SEC School Enrichment Centre".
  17. "Public Lectures at AIMS".
  18. "Google donates $1 million to AIMS". 11 February 2010.
  19. "Canada gives $20M to expand AIMS across Africa". 6 July 2010.
  20. "PM announces Banting Postdoctoral Fellowships, support for Next Einstein Initiative". 6 July 2010. Archived from the original on 2 August 2010.
  21. Perimeter Institute & Canada Partner on Growing Science & Technology Capacity Globally Archived 9 July 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  22. "Project 10^100". Archived from the original on 12 June 2009.
  23. "Individuals donate to AIMS on GivenGain".

External links

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