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Paul Woafo wanted to make sure that physicists in Cameroon had an organized way of supporting each other, so in 2006, he and other physicists founded the Cameroon Physical Society.
Woafo, a physics professor at the University of Yaoundé I, served as the founding president of the organization, from November 2006 through 2013.
“We initiated the creation of the Society in 2005 because of the lack of a professional organization to support the physics community and to share light on what physicists are doing in Cameroon,” he said. “We also wanted to share good practices in physics education and research.”
A key success of the Society, according to Woafo, is the International Conference on High Level Physics and Appropriate Solutions to Real Life Problems in Developing Countries (PDF), which began in 2009 and occurs every two years.
“This conference is a place for an exchange of information between physicists from Cameroon, Africa, and other parts of the world,” explained Woafo. “There are also physics competitions between physics students at universities and high schools to improve the interest of young people in physics.
Woafo’s outstanding work with the Society, as well as his other outreach activities, have not gone unnoticed. In 2020, the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics lauded him for his achievements as a scientist, an academic teacher, a science manager, and a leader of the Cameroonian physics community that has enhanced the country’s role in global scientific discourse.
Additionally, in 2022, APS elected him as a Fellow. Woafo’s research has led to 284 articles being featured in numerous physics and engineering journals, including those published by APS.
APS also helps to foster a connection among physicists in Africa by publishing the African Physics Newsletter.
“I thank APS for this Global Spotlight Member recognition, and I appreciate the support I have received as a member of the Society to ensure that Cameroonians have a role in contributing to the broader physics community,” he said.