Samuel Okoye

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Samuel Okoye
Born Samuel Ejikeme Okoye
(1939-07-26)26 July 1939
Umuahia, Nigeria Protectorate
Died 18 November 2009(2009-11-18) (aged 70)
London, England, United Kingdom
Occupation Physics Lecturer at the University of Ibadan; Director, Division of General Studies, Head Department of Physics and Astronomy and Dean of the Faculty of Physical Sciences University of Nigeria
Nationality Nigerian
Ethnicity Igbo

Samuel Ejikeme Okoye (26 July 1939 – 18 November 2009) was a Nigerian astrophysicist from Amawbia in Anambra State, Nigeria . He later became a British citizen in 2005. Samuel was the first black African to obtain a doctorate in Radio Astronomy.[citation needed]

Early life and education[edit]

Samuel was born in Umuahia, in the old eastern region of Nigeria, to Simon and Agnes Okoye. He was the fifth of nine children. His father died late 1949 when Samuel was just ten. He was raised by his mother and Eldest brother Denise Okoye.

Samuel obtained a Bachelor of Science degree (B.Sc) from the University of London and a doctorate degree (PhD) in Radio Astronomy from Churchill College, Cambridge in the United Kingdom, making him the first black African to obtain a doctorate in Radio Astronomy.

Samuel was a fellow of the Nigerian Academy of Science as well as the Royal Astronomical Society of the United Kingdom. He was a member of the Pugwash Conferences on Science and World Affairs. He was a member of the New York Academy of Sciences, International Network of Engineers and Scientists for Global Responsibility and the International Astronomical Union.

He started teaching Physics at the University of Ibadan in 1965 and later transferred to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN)just before the outbreak of the Nigerian civil war. He was elevated to a professorship in physics in 1976. Between 1978 and 1989,Professor Okoye was appointed the Director, Division of General Studies, Head Department of Physics and Astronomy; Associate Dean and later Dean of the Faculty of Physical Sciences, all at the University of Nigeria.He was elected as Dean of the School of Post Graduate Studies in 1987. Professor Okoye also acted during the summer of 1978 as Vice Chancellor of UNN.

Samuel published numerous scientific papers on Ionosphere Physics, Solar Physics, Theory of Extragalactic Radio Sources and Cosmology. He also published a monograph, Viable and Affordable Policy Objectives for a Nigerian Space Programme in the 1980s and co-edited two books: Basic Science Development in Nigeria: Problems and Prospects, and the World at the Cross-roads: Towards a Sustainable, Equitable and Liveable World.

Samuel served Nigeria in a number of capacities including: (i) Member of the Federal Government delegation to the World Administrative Radio Conference in Geneva 1979;

(ii) Member of the Federal Government delegation to the United Nations Conference on Peaceful Uses of Space in Vienna, 1981;

(iii) Member of the Federal Government Panel charged to produce an integrated energy policy for Nigeria (1984);

(iv) Chairman, Court of Governors of the Awka Campus of the Anambra University of Science and technology(ASUTECH), (1988–1989);

(v) Member of the Governing Council of Anambra University of Science and Technology, Enugu (1988–1989).

At international level, Samuel was a part-time consultant to the United Nations on the development of Space Science end Technology in developing countries (1979–1986). From 1990-93, he was appointed a visiting Professor/Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Astronomy, and Fellow Commoner at Churchill College at the University of Cambridge. In December 1993, Samuel was seconded from the University of Nigeria to the Federal Government as Director (overseas liaison), initially at the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) Lagos, and subsequently the Nigerian Ministry of Science & Technology Abuja, where he also served as the pioneer Science attaché and Head of the Science and Technology Unit at the Nigerian High Commission, London.

Personal life[edit]

Samuel married Chinyere Ucheime Obioha in April, 1969. Chinyere was a native of Arondizuogu in Ideato North Local Government Area of Imo State. She was a Deputy Librarian at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and was later appointed Assistant Director of Library Services at the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Abuja. The couple had four children: Maureen, Obinna, Ndidi and Amaechi.

Okoye died in London on 18 November 2009.


  • 1952 - Won the Eastern Nigerian Outlook Newspaper competition for primary school pupils of the old Eastern Nigeria.
  • 1952 - Won full tuition and boarding entrance scholarship to the Government Secondary School, Owerri.
  • 1959 - Won full tuition and boarding College scholarship of the University College, Ibadan, for excellent performance at end of first year examinations performance. This earned me the title of “College Scholar”.
  • 1959 - Awarded the Eastern Nigerian Scholarship for B.Sc (physics) tenable at the University College, Ibadan.
  • 1962 - Won the Departmental Prize for the best graduating student in the Department of Physics of the University of Ibadan.
  • 1962 - Awarded on a worldwide competitive basis the Carnegie Foundation fellowship for doctoral studies tenable at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom.



  • International Institute for Space Sciences and T. Odhiambo, & Electronics and the Giant Equatorial Radio Telescope, Tata Press Ltd., Bombay, India. G. Swarup, S. E. Okoye 100 pp. (1979).
  • Viable and Affordable Policy Objectives for a Nigerian Space Programme in the 1980s and beyond, An occasional publication of the Department of Physics, University of Nigeria, 108 pp., (1981). S. E. Okoye
  • Basic Science Development in Nigeria: Problems and Prospects. Evans Brothers (Nigeria) Publishers Ltd., 325 pp. (1987). S. E. Okoye & K. M. Onuoha(eds).
  • The World at the crossroads : towards a sustainable, equitable and liveable world : a report to the Pugwash Council edited by Philip B. Smith, Samuel E. Okoye, Jaap de Wilde and Priya Deshingkar. London : Earthscan, 1994. ISBN 1-85383-201-4


“The problem of technological development in developing countries” in “ The Proceedings of the 5th international conference on ‘Science and  :Society: Scientific, Technological and Social Development., Goals and Values” Belgrade,. pp205–216 (1974) S. E. Okoye

”Perspectives on the Technology Creation and TransferProblem in developing Countries” in “Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on Science and Society-- Cooperation and interdependence in the Modern World”. Belgrade., pp 287–295. (1977). S. E. Okoye

“Traditional African Languages as a medium for Scientific Creativity and Innovation” in “Readings on African Humanities : African Cultural Development” O.U.Kalu (ed) Fourth Dimension Publishers pp 260–274 (1978). S.E.Okoye.

“The Mastery of Space: A matter of Intellectual Identity” in “Alternate Space Future and the Human Condition”— A United Nations Publication. L.Karnik., Pergamon Press New York,pp 78–80 and 118-120. (1982). S.E.Okoye

The detection of fine structure in the Crab Nebula at 38 Mc/s, Nature, 203 171, (1964). A. Hewish. & S.E. Okoye

Evidence of an unusual source of high brightness temperature in the Crab Nebula, Nature 207, 59-60. (1965) A. Hewish. & S.E. Okoye

Irregularities oh plasma density in the solar neighborhood, Mon. Not. R. Astr. Soc.137 287-296. (1968) S.E. Okoye & A. Hewish.

The occurrence of large ionospheric irregularities J. atm, terr, Phys., 30, 163-167. (1968). S.E. Okoye & A. Hewish.

The interpretation of the X-ray emission detected from nearby Radio Galaxies, Mon, Not, R.Astr, Soc., 160, 339-348. (1972) S.E. Okoye

Inverse Compton X-ray generation in QSS and the distance problem. Mon, Not, R. Astr Soc. 165 413-419. (1973). S.E. Okoye

The stability of M87 Jet, Mon Not R. Astr Soc, 165, 393-402. (1973). S.E. Okoye

Compact Radio Source Spectra, West Afr. J Sci, 19. No2, 159-169. (1974) S.E. Okoye.

Inverse Compton X-ray generation in leaky Radio Galaxies. West, Afri, J. Sci. 20. No1, (1975) S.E. Okoye.

A model for cm-excess radio sources, Astrophys J. 209, 362-393. (1976). S.E. Okoye

The redshift controversy of quasars, Bull. Nig. Inst. 2, No2, 80-99 (1977). S.E. Okoye

An exploratory documents on the scientific objectives Radio Astronomy . document 300-E IUCAF,WARC Geneva, pp14. (1979). S.E. Okoye

Angular-diameter-red shift relations for Extragalactic Radio Sources, Astrophys J, 260. 37-43. (1982) S.E. Okoye & L.I.Onuora.

Proton-proton-collisions in extragalactic radio sources, In: Extragalactic radio sources Ed. D.S.Heeschen & C.M.Wade. D. Reidel. Publ. Co. Boston. USA. (1982) S.E. Okoye & P.N.Okeke

Optical inverse Compton emission in extragalactic O.Obinabo. radio sources, In Extragalactic radio sources, Ed. D.S.Heeschen and C.M.Wade., D. Reidel. Publ Co. Boston, USA. (1982) S.E. Okoye & O.Obinabo

The variation of radio luminosity with epoch and its effect on the angular-diameter relations. S.E..Okoye Astrophys J. 270. 360-364. (1983) L.I.Onuora S.E. Okoye.

The radiation energy density in compact radio sources. West Afri J. Sci vol 25 (1980) S.E.Okoye

The Hunger Alert. Bull. Atomic Scientists. 38. No. 1 28-29 (1982). S.E.Okoye

Cosmic Dimensions of violence, Discourses, Nig Acad, Sci. 6, 45-55, (1984) S.E.Okoye

An investigation of a two-station pulsar inter-Stellar scintillations radio observation program Between Nsukka and Ooctamund, India. Proc. Nig. Acad, Sci. 1 16-23. (1986). S.E.Okoye & P.N.Okeke

A test for models of radio source evolution. Astrophys& Spa Sci. 122 267-279. !1986). S.E.Okoye & L.I.Onuora

Estimates of proton energies in EGRS. Astrophys. Spa Sci. 132. 65-72. (1987). M.W.Anyakoha, P.N.Okeke & S.E.Okoye

Radio Emission from large-scale radio jets. Astrophys J. 328 220-229. (1988). M.W.Anyakoha, P.N.Okeke & S.E.Okoye

Space Research: A tool for National Development and Security. Discourses Nig. Acad. Sci. 71-82. (1988). S.E.Okoye

A model of gamma ray emission from large-scale Jets. In Proceedings of the American Physics Workshop of Nuclear Spectroscopy of Astrophysical sources., Ed. W Gehoels and G.H.Share. pp 350–355. (1988). M.W.Anyakoha, P.N.Okeke & S.E.Okoye

Prediction of high-energy gamma rays from Extragalactic Jets. Astro Lett & Comm. 373-380. (1990). M.W.Anyakoha, P.N.Okeke & S.E.Okoye

The confinement and Cosmological evolution of Extragalactic Radio Source Components. Ap.J 383. 56-59. (1991). A.A.Ubachukwu S.E.Okoye & L.I.Onuora

Origin of the radio gap in extragalactic radio sources. Astrophys & Spa. Sci. 187. 209-214. (1992). I.E.Ekejiuba, P.N.Okeke & S.E.Okoye

The nature of ejected protons from the nuclei of extragalactic radio sources. Astrophys. & Spa. Sci. 167 215-218. (1992). I.E.Ekejiuba, P.N.Okeke & S.E.Okoye

3On the origin of magnetic fields associated with radio haloes in galaxy clusters. Mon. Not. R. Astron Soc. 283 1047-1054. (1996). S.E.Okoye & L.I.Onuora

The problem of the interpretation of extra-galactic radio source spectra. (IC/73/104) International Centre for Theoretical Physics. Trieste, Italy. Internal Report. 10pp (1073). S.E.Okoye

A Review of the development of Water Resources of small Pacific Islands. Commissioned Report by the Commonwealth Science Council. London. pp 24 (1989) S.E.Okoye

Science Information and Dissemination: Regional mobile Science and Technology Exhibitions for developing countries of the Commonwealth. Commissioned Report by the Commonwealth Science Council, London. 15 pp (1991). S.E.Okoye

Funding Sources for Commonwealth Science Council Programmes and Projects. Commissioned Report by the Commonwealth Science Council, London. 27 pp (1996) S.E.Okoye

National Policy for Science and Technology for the year 2000 AD and beyond : Realizing the National Potential. Report to the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, Abuja, 33 pp. (1996) S.E.Okoye


Sam Okoye, Africa's foremost astrophysicist dies

World Administrative Radio Conference 1979 - List of Participants (page 60)

Top Nigerian scientist, The Guardian columnist, Prof. Sam Okoye

A parable of four men

University of Nigeria, Nsukka