9 November 2013

A STROLL WITH CHINEDU MBAMALU (For World Science Day for Peace and Development)

                                    “Science shouldn't be a luxury” ~Jack Andraka 

Since the discovery of the wheel by our ancient ancestors, science and technology has really increased the will of man on earth. We can do almost anything right now; fly into space to visit neighboring planets, take pictures of a fetus developing in the womb, grow a new hairline for bald men, and even cook our food in split seconds. Science is indeed the foundation of our civilization. And whenever we talk about science and innovative ideas, our minds go to the highly sophisticated labs in developed countries because of the quality of ideas and products that have been made in there. But, today’s stroll will shock you!

Meet Chinedu, the man who believes he can revolutionize the Jet propulsion system and No, he’s not a student of MIT, Oxford, or Stanford. He’s a self-taught Nigerian Scientist who taught himself rocket science—I mean that literally—and thinks beyond the limitations of his environment.

We talked about his dreams and how he has managed to stay focused so far; his current projects; and how science and technology can be used for good in the world. Sit back and get inspired, here’s our conversation:

Ebenezar: Hi Nedu, thanks for your time. It's a pleasure having you on the stroll 

Chinedu: You’re welcome.

Image Credit: UNESCO
Ebenezar: Now, before we go deep into your story. I'd like to know how it all started, what has drawn you so much to science so far?

Chinedu: Thrill and Destiny, I have always had a passion for science and research work and have held on to that passion and will not be letting go of it. it’s a huge part of my Life.

Ebenezar: The project you're working on, the VCCFIJ stands for Varrying Combined Circle Fuel Internal Jet. To a layman that might sound like jargon (hehe). Please can you explain a bit about it?

Chinedu: The VCCFIJ was one of the first in an evolutionary line of Jet propulsion systems that I have worked on, it’s not my most recent therefore not the most evolved, a later but not the latest version, the ECJE has a WIPO application to it. 

Diagram of a jet engine (Image Credit: wikipedia)

Ebenezar: How much progress have you made so far on this project? In terms of
sponsors and partnerships, and what do you still need to make it a possibility?

Chinedu: Jet propulsion is a slow evolving technology in terms of Change from an existing system to a new system it could take as much as ten or more years, unlike the infotech / telecoms industry which is a per annum industry. With that said, every day as we progress we are attracting more interest from individuals and industries.

Ebenezar: Talking about Jets and engines, airplane crashes are becoming a regular occurrence in Nigeria, and many people have named things like poor maintenance, greed, inefficient aviation inspectors, etc as the cause of these crashes. What do you think about this problem?

Chinedu: Jet engines are very complicated machines and with the operational systems a lot could go wrong, that said Jet engines are not the only cause of plane crashes, aged platforms, human factors like corruption and lax regulations have all contributed and all contribute to plane crashes.

(Image Credit: 123rf)

Ebenezar: As at 2010 when I saw an interview about your project, you were not in the higher institution yet. So my question is how were you able to source for information to undertake this project?

Chinedu: Most great Inventors if not all are a product of outside the box thinking. That said, knowledge and the University are only related to the extent that participants are willing to tap into available information and use it, good thing the University is not the only place to find this information and is increasingly not the best way—especially for inventors. 

Ebenezar: (hmmmm) Talking about school, critics have said science is dead in the
Nigerian educational system. And their argument is, Our universities roll out science graduates every year yet, we never hear about any Nigerian science graduate solving problems with his/her skills—no inventions, no creativity—what is causing this? 

(Image Credit: Fotolia)
Chinedu: The educational system of Nigeria and most countries today kills creativity, and it seems like a conscious effort. If good products will be churned out of our schools, then more emphasis must be placed on creativity and talent. Not the traditional, archaic, stereotype teaching we have these days.

Ebenezar: One of my favorite shows on NTA is Young Inventors hosted by Treasure Obasi. It's a show that exhibits young talented inventors in secondary school science fairs around Nigeria, and oh boy! These lads come up with great stuffs, but we never get to hear about them or see their inventions in commercial use. Don't you think governments--especially the Nigerian Government--need to start taking inventors serious? 

Chinedu: The Government doesn’t have to be forced to take us serious. They don’t have to be coerced into knowing that the power of the modern day economy lies in the Science and Technology industry. When they become serious about the future they will crave Inventors.

Ebenezar: (haha) let's talk global now. There's no doubt that science has really shaped and re-shaped the world we live in, and made Life easier. But despite this good attribute, science has also produced nuclear bombs, chemicals weapons, and guns that are destructive to humanity. How do we curtail this? How can we prevent people from inventing evil things?

Chinedu: There is no rule book for creativity as to what to create. Inventions can also happen accidentally, and people cannot be stopped from inventing things. In fact most ‘evil inventions’ have very good applications, electricity can cook your food or kill you. Application based on morality and sanity is the key. So morality and sanity is the answer. Let’s keep our sanity.

Ebenezar: Finally, so when the VCCFIJ evolved propulsion project is complete, will you then be able to fold your arms and wait for death? Or do you have other dreams you'd want to fulfill?

Chinedu: (hahah) Life works differently.

Ebenezar: That’s a very scientific answer I must say, (haha). Thank you so much for talking with me Nedu. I know how hard it is to get a researcher out of his research lab for a stroll.
Chinedu: Thank you for getting me out, the pleasure was mine.

Ebenezar: Good luck on your project.
Chinedu: Thanks

For more about Chinedu and his projects, visit his blog or find him on Google+ at Othneil Creator 

Technology is beautiful when it is used for solving everyday problems for humanity. I’d like to advice Governments to invest more in using science for positive things rather than making nuclear weapons or other things that are destructive to life.

Developing countries need to encourage innovation and creativity in schools. Organize science fairs and symposiums that will help to find science talents, and it’s not just to organize fairs, when beautiful ideas and unique talents emerge from these fairs, Support them! Invest in them; fund their ideas, help make them a reality—All for the greater good of humanity.

I still believe Biomimicry is the science of the future. If you take a close look at all we claim to have achieved; from flying to building sky scrapers, to storing food. You’d discover that, we’ve been imitating nature all this while unknowingly. I mean, it’s only wise to imitate Nature because it has more experience than us, and God the creator of nature is all knowing—so you can be rest assured that whatever he designs is perfect. Universities around the world all need a Biomimicry department. Ms. Janine and co are doing well with the Biomimicry 3.8 Institute, and I hope to do more with Biomimicry Nigeria. But more can still be done; more people need to learn about Biomimicry. I hope someone in power gets to hear this and does something.

Till my next stroll; be good, be creative. Jesus loves you.

Ebenezar Wikina(@EbenezarWikina


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  1. I naturally attracted to people who love nature,because nature talent and talent embodies the answer to the many questions unanswered. The world need more talents than spectators. @_el_magni_fico