Dr Tilahun Abebaw - Group leader in Ethiopia

Meet Dr Tilahun Abebaw, coordinator of the ISP supported research group in mathematics at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia. 

Dr Tilahun Abebaw (to the right) was the first PhD student to graduate from the ISP supported research group in mathematics at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, in 2009. Today he is the research group coordinator, and is visiting Sweden for a month to do research in algebra with PhD student Sebsibew Atikaw Kebede and his supervisor Professor Rikard Bögvad at Stockholm University. 

Sebsibew joined the Sandwich PhD Program, as well as the research group in mathematics, in September 2012 and is expecting to graduate in 2016. As a sandwich student, he spends a part of his training at Stockholm University in Sweden and the rest at Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia. In two months he will go back home to continue his research in algebra, after having spent six months of research and training at Stockholm University.

Their research group is focusing on both pure and applied mathematics as well as on modeling of road traffic and of infectious diseases like Tuberculosis and Malaria. When modeling the traffic and infectious diseases the research group is collaborating with specialist in other areas. The mathematicians do the modeling and engineers and sociologist contribute with their knowledge on roads and social factors.

- It is important to do modeling of traffic because there are many road accidents in Africa, happening for many reasons. The research group models the traffic flows, and how the traffic lights should function and we hope such a research will help in policy making, which in turn can reduce the number of accidents.

At the moment 25 PhD students are enrolled in the newly launched PhD program at Addis Ababa University, and are given the chance to do research in mathematics. A subject that got Dr. Tilahun’s interest because of the logical way of thinking and fundamental nature of it:

- Mathematics is the base for everything. It is the base for technology, finance and modeling of any kind. If you have basic knowledge of mathematics you also have the foundation to everything else.

February 2014