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In Memoriam

Charles Chidume

Mathematician Charles Chidume
Mathematician Charles Chidume


ICTP is mourning the passing of Nigerian mathematician Charles Chidume. Professor Chidume was an ICTP staff member from 1992 to 2009 in the Mathematics section, and coordinated the section's Diploma courses from 1992 to 2007. He was a founding member of the African University of Science and Technology (AUST) and, at the time of his death, had been AUST's acting president. He was the recipient of the 2019 AMMSI-Phillip Griffiths Prize and a Fellow of The World Academy of Sciences.

Current and past ICTP mathematicians shared tributes to their former colleague:

Lothar Gottsche:

Professor Charles Chidume had a strong connection to ICTP. He built the Diploma Programme in mathematics and was for many years its coordinator, building it into a strong programme. He was very devoted to the Diploma Programme and his teaching. He cared very much about the students and was very generous with his help for them, and helped many to start a career in mathematics. He was always a strong advocate for the concerns and the needs of mathematicians in Africa.

After leaving ICTP he was one of the founders of the African University of Science andTechnology (AUST) in Abuja (Nigeria), and the head of its department of mathematics. He kept his connection with ICTP and sent a number of outstanding students to the Diploma Programme.

His field of research was nonlinear functional analysis, in particular fixed point theory, in which he wrote influential articles and books, and with his students and collaborators built a strong school in this field, mostly in Africa. He has won a number of awards for his work, among them the 2019 AMMSI-Phillip Griffiths Prize.

T.R. Ramadas, former head of ICTP's Mathematics section:

I had the good fortune of having Professor Charles Chidume as my colleague during much of my ten years at ICTP. As mathematicians from developing countries, we shared a camaraderie, idealism tempered with realism, and a similar view of ICTP’s priorities.

Professor Chidume was totally focussed on running the Diploma Programme, which he did smoothly and without fuss, and on developing mathematics in Africa, particularly in his own country, Nigeria. In the latter enterprise he enlisted — with masterful powers of persuasion — a wide variety of mathematicians from around the world.

His own interests lay in Functional Analysis and in particular, fixed point theorems. He took the task of training young mathematicians very seriously, approaching it as a stern sergeant-major would.

Professor Chidume leaves a substantial legacy. He will be missed by friends, colleagues and the students from around the world whose lives he touched.


ICTP also received a memoriam from the Nigerian Mathematical Society, where Professor Chidume had served as secretary for many years. The text documents in detail Professor Chidume's qualifications, awards and impact on mathematics in Africa. The document can be downloaded here.

Related links:

In Memoriam by African University of Science and Technology

Student testimonials from the book "The ICTP Experience: Diploma and STEP Students"

Books and lecture notes by Charles Chidume in the Marie Curie Library