Underwater optic fiber cables could help detect seismic events

Earthquakes can erupt from the ocean floors and cause havoc on the mainland. Such havoc can be minimized by warnings if oceanic seismic activity is detected early enough. Current earthquake detection depends mainly on detectors on land, leaving many underwater earthquakes undetected. Last month, a new study published in the journal Science suggests that seafloor optic fibers, which transmit the world's internet traffic, can be also used to detect seismic waves from underneath the ocean. According to the authors of this preliminary study, earthquakes cause disruptions along the optic cables, which can be detected by lasers added at both ends of the optic cables. According to Charlotte Rowe, a seismologist at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, USA, signals emitted by submarine cables can also be used to get sharper insights into the earth's interior composition. Scientists believe this is an intriguing study that should be followed up to improve the detection of underwater earthquakes. 

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Three Afrisnet members win training positions through CAEP

Ange Uwera, Delphine Umuhoza, and Delphine Uwingabire have been working very hard for a long time applying to graduate programs and internships both in Europe and the United States. Recently, they were all offered training positions through CAEP, an international agriculture exchange program. The three Rwandan natives hold bachelor's degree in agriculture from the University of Rwanda, and they are happy that their unceasing hard work has paid off. Uwera is already in Minnesota where she started her training, whereas Umuhoza and Uwingabire are expected to start their training in New York in July 2018. 

Uwera, Umuhoza, and Uwingabire reached out to seek help from Afrisnet members when they were writing their application documents. At Afrisnet, we are very proud to see the trio embark on training journeys that will, eventually, have significant impact on their academic goals. They have all informed Afrisnet that they will be using their time in the USA to prepare for the GRE, the TOEFL, and other requirements for graduate school. They would like to apply for research-based graduate programs in agriculture in the United States. 


Africa needs many more PhD scientists to develop homegrown solutions

By Alan Christoffells, University of Western Cape

It’s been a recurring refrain: Africa still lags woefully behind the rest of the world in generating new scientific knowledge.

As figures collated by the World Bank in 2014 show, the continent—home to around 16% of the world’s population—produces less than 1% of the world’s research output. These are painful admissions to make, but there are several projects and initiatives that offer hope amid all the bad news.

One is a major funding and agenda setting platform, the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa based in Nairobi, Kenya, which was established by the African Academy of Sciences in partnership with NEPAD. It will award research grants to African universities, advise on financial best practice and develop a science strategy for Africa. It also offers an opportunity for African scientists to speak with one voice when it comes to aligning a research and development agenda for African countries. 

Afrisnet on a mission to help African students in STEM

Gabriel Muhire Gihana considers graduate education at IU a "unique privilege."

Born and raised in Africa, where advanced academic research opportunities can be limited, Gihana is now a Ph.D. student studying cell biology in the IU Bloomington College of Arts and Sciences' Department of Biology. Recently, he was awarded both IU's Alfred Parson Mower Fellowship and a dissertation fellowship from the IU College of Arts and Sciences.

But the Rwanda native said he wouldn't have found his passion for research without help from others along the way. This guidance has inspired him to help others from similar backgrounds access educational opportunities in the U.S.

"I had fully funded scholarships from high school to college," Gihana said. "Otherwise, I wouldn't be here at all. I was blessed in the sense that I could do well in my classes, so people wanted to see me move forward.

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