Physics Dons Highlight Achievements Of Medical Physics

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Professor L.E. Akpabio, head, department of Physics, University of Uyo, has expressed hopes that the interaction between the department and international scholars in Medical Physics will bring about linkages and collaborations which would ultimately lead to the establishment of a Medical Physics unit in the department.

The university don made this remark, Wednesday, while playing host to Dr. Ifeanyi James Onwuka a UK-based Nigerian medical physicist who was in the University of Uyo to present a seminar on Advances in Medical Physics in the 21st Century. The seminar which was geared towards bringing to fore recent developments in medical physics also sought to pave way for collaboration between Dr. Onwuka and scholars interested in research in medical physics.

During his presentation, Onwuka urged Nigerian scholars to embrace technologies that would help them in realizing the objectives in their research in Medical Physics. He took the audience through an engaging session, demonstrating with a rich collection of machines on display how medical physics can serve as a dynamic option for alternative medicine by applying the known principles of physics to medicine. He said that as a medical physicist, his guiding principle is that, for any ailment suffered by someone in any location, someone somewhere must have cured it. According to him, it is this understanding that drives him to tour the world collecting and testing the efficacy of machines fabricated and deployed for use by medical physicists. In his words, Onwuka states: ‘my life is about finding the next cure.’

Perhaps Onwuka’s presentation would have passed as ‘another academic exercise’, but the testimony of renowned Professor Emeritus P. N. Okeke of the department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, gave spirited credence to the exercise. Okeke testified that on Onwuka’s advice he used one of the machines on display, and for three years-without any orthodox medication, no malaria parasite was found in his blood. Okeke, himself a renowned international scholar, advised that medical physicists should focus on finding lasting solutions to endemic problems like malaria and other diseases prevalent in the country. Earlier in the day, while introducing Dr. Onwuka, Professor Okeke said that when he saw the great things Dr. Onwuka was doing in UK, he had to convince him to come to Nigeria to help groom medical physicists to solve the medical problems and conditions that plague Nigerians and Africans.

Speaking with our reporter immediately after the seminar, Dr. A. A. Eshiet, head of Atomic, Nuclear and Radiation Physics research group in the department expressed his happiness for the visit of Dr. Onwuka. He said that Onwuka’s visit will create openings for the scholars and researchers in the department to visit Onwuka’s laboratory in the U.K. and forge relationships that will turn the department into a Centre of Excellence in medical physics research. “Since we already have an operational Radiation and Health Physics unit, all we need do is upgrade to set the Medical Physics option on course,” Eshiet informed. I am hopeful that there will be a follow-up on this seminar to establish a Medical Physics laboratory,” he added.

In a related development, the department also played host to a US-based indigene of Akwa Ibom State, Eno Umoh, who owns and runs a US-based company that specializes in the deployment of drones for photography, aerial cinematography, 3D site modeling, and other non-military applications. In his presentation, Umoh laid bare the potentialities of drone technology in transforming the economic, social and political life of a people. Demonstrating his assertion, Enoh played several clips of projects undertaken by his company. He specifically confessed that the clip on the Godswill Obot Akpabio International stadium, shot early this year, has generated a buzz online.

Eno said that he intends to use his presentation to encourage people and government to appreciate and embrace drone technology. He added that the build-a-drone module was an educational component intended to encourage young people to be interested in science and engineering, using the fascination and excitement of building drones as the bait.

In attendance were: the representative of the Commissioner for Science and Technology, Special Assistant to the governor on new media, and Special Adviser to the governor on Diaspora matters.

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