Frank Gibbs Torto

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Frank Gibbs Torto

Frank Gibbs Tetteh Obaka Torto

(1921-10-10)October 10, 1921
Died7 May 1984(1984-05-07) (aged 62)
Alma materUniversity of London
Iris Aku Torto,née Akwei
(m. 1949; died 2008)
ChildrenOboshie Adjua Torto, Obodai Torto, Ofori Torto.
Scientific career
InstitutionsUniversity of Ghana

Frank Gibbs Tetteh Obaka Torto, FGA, OV (10 October 1921 – May 1984) was a Ghanaian chemist and a professor at the University of Ghana. He was a founding member, vice president and later president of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Early life and education[edit]

Frank was born on 10 October 1921 in Accra.

He was educated in many elementary schools in the Gold Coast. In 1931, he enrolled at the Accra Academy as one of the school's foundation students.[1] He completed in 1936 and joined the intermediate department of Achimota College a year later to pursue an intermediate bachelor's degree which he received in 1941. In 1942, he proceeded to the United Kingdom for his tertiary education. He was accepted into the Queen Mary University of London a constituent college of the University of London studying there from the bachelors level; graduating with first class honours[2] to doctorate level, he was awarded his doctorate (Ph. D.) degree in Chemistry in 1947.[3][4][5][6]


He returned to Ghana in 1947 after his studies abroad and joined the faculty of Achimota College's intermediate department as a lecturer. A year later when the University College of the Gold Coast was founded he together with Walter Warwick Sawyer, D. K. Baldwin and Mary C. Charnley all from the Intermediate department were appointed as the first group of staff to form the nucleus of the university's teaching faculty[7] thereby making him the first Ghanaian lecturer of the university.[8] He was a lecturer of chemistry at the university in 1948 and a senior lecturer in 1957. He became a Ghana UNESCO National Commission member in 1958 and in 1959 became a founding member of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences. A year later, he was appointed a scientific consultant for the United Nations. In 1962 he rose to professorship status and the head of the chemistry department.[9][10] That same year, he was named with Stephen Oluwole Awokoya by the then Secretary-General of the United Nations; U Thant among eight scientific secretaries for a United Nations conference on the application of science and technology for the benefit of less developed areas, a conference that was held in Geneva, Switzerland.[11] In 1965, he was appointed president of the Ghana Science Association and a year later, president of the Association of Science Teachers.[12] In October, 1968 he was a visiting fellow at Churchill College, University of Cambridge.[13][14][15] He was then appointed dean of the faculty of Science at the University of Ghana in 1969 taking over from Alan Nunn May, he served in this capacity until 1971.[16] In 1972 he became a member of the continuing committee of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs.[17][18][19] In 1973 he was made dean of the faculty of science for a second occasion.[20] This time he served in that capacity for a year. In 1978 he served on the United Nations advisory committee.[21][22] In 1979 he served on the board of Ghana National Manganese Corporation. That same year, he was appointed vice president of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences. He served in this capacity until 1981 when he was appointed president of the academic body. In his lifetime, Frank served on various other committees and organizations some of which include; the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research – Ghana and the Council of the Centre for Scientific Research into Plant Medicine. He was also an editorial board member for the West African Journal of Biological and Applied Chemistry.[23][3][4][5][6]He also served as an external examiner for the West African Examinations Council for years, in addition to serving as a member of the board of directors for Adisadel College, Cape Coast.

Honours and legacies[edit]

He was a recipient of the member of the Order of the Volta award.[4]

The University of Ghana award for best graduating student in chemistry is named after him.[24]

The University of Ghana Chemistry building was also named in his honour.[25]


Frank authored many articles that were published in scientific and general publications. His works have been featured in journals such as; the Journal of the Chemical Society, Nature (journal), West African Journal of Biological Science and the Ghana Journal of Science.[26] Some of his works include;

  • (contrib.) Some Problems in the Study of Plant Gum Polyssacharides, 1960;[27]
  • (contrib.) An Aldobiouronic Acid Isolated from Fagara xanthoxyloides Gum, 1961;[28]
  • (contrib.) The training of scientists in Ghana" in scientific world, 1964;[29]
  • (contrib.) Arms and African Development Ed. F S Arkhurst: Praeger, 1972;[3]
  • (contrib.) Views of Science Technology and Development Ed. V. Rabinowitch: Pergamon, 1975;[3]
  • Structure of the Alkaloid Wisanine (2-Methoxypiperine), 1981;[4]
  • University Chemistry in Developing Countries, 1981;[4]

Personal life[edit]

Frank married Iris Aku Torto (née Akwei) in 1949. Together they had three children; Oboshie Adjua Torto, Obodai Torto and Ofori Torto. He enjoyed listening to music in his spare time, and played classical piano.[3][4][5] He died in May, 1984.[30][31]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mensah, J. N. A. (2013). Traditions and customs of Gadangmes of Ghana : descendants of authentic Biblical Hebrew Israelites. p. 277. ISBN 9781628571042.
  2. ^ "Proceedings of the Ghana Academy of Sciences". Secretariat of the Ghana Academy of Sciences, 1964-1968. 1963: 17. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ a b c d e Uwechue, Ralph (1991). Africa Who's who. Africa Journal Limited. p. 1735. ISBN 9780903274173.
  4. ^ a b c d e f International book of honor. American Biographical Institute. 1987. p. 373. ISBN 9780934544320.
  5. ^ a b c "Ghana Year Book". Graphic Corporation. 1978: 286. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. ^ a b Who's who in the world. Wilmette, Ill. : Marquis Who's Who, Macmillan Directory Division. 1978. p. 696. ISBN 9780837911038.
  7. ^ Agbodeka, Francis (1998). A history of University of Ghana: half a century of higher education (1948-1998). p. 45. ISBN 9789964978563.
  8. ^ Agbodeka, Francis (1998). A history of University of Ghana: half a century of higher education (1948-1998). p. 217. ISBN 9789964978563.
  9. ^ Addy, M. A. (2011). Rewards : an autobiography. p. 48. ISBN 9789988037826.
  10. ^ "Feeding Africa: Proceedings of the Second Symposium of Pan African Pugwash Group, 28th May - 3rd June 1978, Cape Coast University, Ghana". Pan African Pugwash Group. 1978: 18. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  11. ^ "West Africa, Issues  2328-2352". Afrimedia International. 1962: 194. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  12. ^ "Ghana Year Book". Graphic Corporation. 1967: 275. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  13. ^ "Cambridge University Reporter, Volume 98, Issue 3". University of Cambridge. 1968: 2562. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  14. ^ "Register". Cambridge Auxiliary Fire Department. 1970: 640. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  15. ^ "The Cambridge University List of Members for the Year". Cambridge Auxiliary Fire Department. 1991: 1366. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  16. ^ Daniel, Ebow (1999). Mr. Registrar : the making of an amanuensis. p. 120. ISBN 9789964978594.
  17. ^ "Proceedings of the Twenty-fifth Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs: Development, Resources and World Security, Madras, India, 13-19 January, 1976". Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs. 1976: 62. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  18. ^ Rotblat, Joseph (1972). Crisis, Change, and Revolution in Ghanaian Education. p. 89. ISBN 9780262180542.
  19. ^ "Pugwash Newsletter, Volume 24-25". Council of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. 1974: ii. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  20. ^ Unesco. Regional Office of Science and Technology for Africa. (1975). Final Report.
  21. ^ "Oficial Records, Volume 1". United Nations. Economic and Social Council. 1978: 243. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  22. ^ Stuart, Sam (2016). Science, Technology and Global Problems: The United Nations Advisory. p. 60. ISBN 9781483189451.
  23. ^ "West African Journal of Biological and Applied Chemistry, Volumes 6-11". J. M. P. Services. 1962: 71. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  24. ^ "Academic Prize Awards – 2013/2014". UNIVERSITY OF GHANA. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  25. ^ "Annual Report". State Publishing Company. 2007: xxxviii. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  26. ^ "Ghana Journal of Science: A Joint Publication of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and the Ghana Science Association, Volumes 7-12". Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (Ghana). 1967: 3. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  27. ^ "West African Journal of Biological Chemistry, Volumes 4-5". University College. 1960: 6. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  28. ^ "Journal of the Chemical Society". Chemical Society. 1961: 3166. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  29. ^ "scientific world vol VIII, No. 4". 1964: 3–8. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  30. ^ "roceedings of the Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs., Volume 35". Pugwash Conference on Science and World Affairs. 1985: 45. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  31. ^ "Pugwash Newsletter, Volume 22". Council of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. 1985: 111. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)