Friday, 17 January 2014

In Memoriam: Professor Marian Ewurama Addy

RIP Prof Marian Ewurama Addy. (Pic taken from
I first learnt of Professor Ewurama Addy's passing on through a friend's wall on Facebook. I quickly googled around to find the news, and was totally disheartened to find that she was indeed gone.

Most Ghanaians, especially those interested in the sciences, will remember her as the quiz mistress of the popular National Science and Maths Quiz (NSMQ) programme on TV. In fact, my first encounter with her was through that medium back in the day. I would say NSMQ was likely one of the factors that swayed me to take the scientific path, as I was interested in so many different subjects in Junior Secondary School. 

In the biochemistry department at University of Ghana, Legon, she was highly respected by both staff and students. I was always curious to have a taste of the substance behind the aura. I got to know Prof Addy better in my final year when she taught us BCHM 409, "biochemistry of hormones." The class was interesting and engaging and she always drew on her wide experiences in teaching and research to illustrate key points (stuff about cyclic AMP, G-proteins and cholesterol). I dozed off a few times during her early morning lectures, and thought she didn't notice.Well on the last but one day of the course, she finally asked why I was often sleepy and promised giving me a special T-shirt if I don't sleep off in her last class!

She encouraged her students to pursue graduate studies, especially if we wanted to become biochemists. She was right. You can't really call yourself a biochemistry without at least a masters degree in the field. Since I left university I've been involved in research, technology and education. Although I'm not centrally located in biochemistry any more, the training received from the department, from people like Prof, is helping me to hold my own in the world.

The last time I met her was back in 2009 at a public forum for Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the worldwide web at AITI-KACE. During that time, she was working on the Anglican University of Technology project. She will always be remembered as a great scientist, teacher, science champion, quiz mistress and role model.

Also read this beautiful tribute to her at Levers in Heels, celebrating what she means for women in science. What do you think is Prof Addy's greatest legacy and what should be done to remember her?

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