Nigerian mum of 3 becomes first black woman to bag PhD in Pure Mathematics, breaks 149-year-old jinx

A Nigerian mother who became the first black woman to earn a PhD in pure mathematics from the University of South Africa overcame a 149-year-old curse (UNISA).

She went by the name Professor Oghenetega Ighedo and said that her mother, a former math teacher, served as inspiration for her journey into the field of mathematics.

Prof. Ighedo highlighted how her mother’s teaching style won her over to the topic and further piqued her interest in trying to follow the same route.

Prof. Ighedo said there were two things that drove her to pursue a career in pure mathematics.

She remarked in a post posted by Women Power Africa, “My decision to study pure mathematics was also driven by the fact that not only are there few black pure mathematicians, but there are fewer black women who are pure mathematicians.

She claimed that when she began her PhD, she was married, already had two children, and was expecting her third child.

I was able to get my PhD in three years despite being a wife and mother, the professor stated.

Prof. Ighedo graduated from Delta State University in Nigeria with a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Industrial Mathematics.

She has an MSc in Pure Mathematics from the University of Ibadan as well.

As an associate professor at the University of South Africa’s Department of Mathematical Sciences, she advises “women not to let difficulties and problems dissuade them.”

“Pure mathematics is the study of the fundamental principles and structures that underpin mathematics,” claims Mit Mathematics. Its goal is to discover new insights and broaden our understanding of mathematics.

In describing this field of mathematics, the University of Waterloo stated that although what is “pure” in one era frequently becomes applied later, it has been described as “that part of mathematical work that is done without explicit or immediate concern of direct application.”

“At the present time, substantial applications of pure mathematics are found in the fields of finance and cryptography.”

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