You may remember that last January, I travelled to Ghana to teach a course on particle physics at the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences (https://nexteinstein.org ). If you seen me since then, you know how amazing of an experience I found this, and if you are a “physics friend” then chances are I have tried to get you to come teach at AIMS. Near the end of my trip, while I was travelling in central Ghana, and completely unassociated with AIMS I happened to meet a high school physics teacher named Philipp Bipong (see photo below) from a small village named Bomfa. As a result of the shared “math and science are cool” mentality, we hit is off and I ended up visiting his school the next day. The students were great, the teachers were great, the village was great. This, all despite the fact that in the entire village, at a school that has students ranging from five to fifteen years old, there is not a single computer. No computer to skills that many of us deem essential in the present day. No computer to access the internet and with it the wealth of knowledge that exists there - No Wikipedia! And no computer to keep track of the student body, their grades, successes or failures. Although I have imagined this to be the reality of many communities throughout the world, I was left with a feeling that this was absurd and still unimaginable. Upon leaving, Philipp and myself exchanged phone numbers and have kept up via WhatsApp over the course of the past ten months. He has become more politically engaged in his local politics with the aim of changing this situation, and I have moved to Berkeley, California. But we have come to realize that we are not so different, he and I, and for me this is quite impressive.
This coming January, I will be returning to Ghana. This time accompanied by my friend and colleague, Dr. Claire David from the DESY laboratory in Hamburg, Germany to again share our profession and skills with the students of AIMS, this time teaching them about silicon tracking detectors! Ahhhhhh! At the end of the AIMS course, I plan to introduce her to Ghana and explore Kumasi and show her where kente cloth is made. Who knows, we may even get to visit Adawso(*)! However, a highlight of our trip will be a visit back to Bomfa, to again visit Philipp and his community’s school. And this time, I plan to come prepared! Currently, it is possible to purchase a new laptop for ~200USD, serving as a machine to be equipped with ubuntu, giving Philipp and his students access to the entire open source world of resources to use the machine as a tool for enhancing the education that they already provide.
So this is where you come in. After some input from friends, we've decided to try and make this somewhat more "official". As such, if you have found your way here by any means, I would invite you to consider donating on this platform. The more money, the more robust the machine. At the very minimum, Claire and I will somehow get Philipp and his school a computer, and we hope that we can do more than this with your help. So let’s see how far we get and how strong people imaginations are!
Sam Meehan and Claire David
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