(NEW YORK, NY) -- When a British mensa society voted Emeagwali as the " smartest man alive ," many in the media asked: Who is Emeagwali? How come he is not famous? ( Sunday Herald , Glasgow, May 5, 2002)

To settle this question, we asked: Who is the world's top scientist? Is it Britain's most famous physicist Stephen Hawkings? Is it America's most famous scientist Stephen Jay Gould? Is it computer pioneer and Nobel laureate Jack Kilby?

The answer is: "None of the above."

Just as The New York Times Best Seller List tells us what people are reading, the 300 million daily searches tells us what people are searching online. The number of searches conducted on a person is a deep and democratic poll of how much the individual is in demand or interesting. It provides an objective measure of who's hot and who's not.

Given that only one percent of Africans are online, this survey reveals who is popular at the grassroots level in the United States and Europe. Yet, it is a clear and unbiased picture of who captured the public's attention in the Western world.

Because of our human nature, we incorporate our bias when asked to guess who is the most searched-for scientist. As they say, numbers do not lie. Let's leave it to the search engines to determine which celebrity is most searched-for. Below are the numbers extracted from Yahoo, MSN, Lycos and Altavista which revealed the ten most "searched for" contemporary scientists for the month of February 2003.....

1:Emeagwali Philli searches (85140). 2:David Suzuki(84450).Tim Berners(84420).4:Alan Turing (81609) 5:Richard Feynman(80280).

In his speech to Nigerian National Assembly(August 2000) :President Bill Clinton referred him as "a great mind",and I quote, "One of the great minds of the Information Age is a Nigerian American named Philip Emeagwali. He had to leave school because his parents couldn't pay the fees. He lived in a refugee camp during your civil war. He won a scholarship to university and went on to invent a formula that lets computers make 3.1 billion calculations per second...Some people call him the Bill Gates of Africa. "

Philip Emeagwali, a computer scientist, is but one example. He uses his mathematical and computer expertise to develop methods for extracting more petroleum from oil fields.

It was his formula that used 65,000 separate computer processors to perform 3.1 billion calculations per second in 1989. That feat led to computer scientists comprehending the capabilities of supercomputers and the practical applications of creating a system that allowed multiple computers to communicate. He is recognized as one of the fathers of the Internet.

Supercomputers range in price from $30 million to $100 million, and computer companies had reservations about building them for fear few agencies would make such pricey purchases.

"At that time, the argument was, 'We shouldn't build computers that way because who can program them?' " said Emeagwali, who is also a civil engineer. "I answered that question by successfully programming them."

Future applications for Emeagwali's breakthroughs with the use of data generated by massive parallel include weather forecasting and the study of global warming.

Sources: ( White house press release & Emeagwali.com )


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