The Oyibo Controversy
back to the Gabriel Oyibo web page
There seems to be a large number of myths circulating Dr. Oyibo's accomplishments. One such myth has it that Oyibo's work on "E=MC2 should be compared to that of Andrew Wiles recent (1995) work on Fermat's Last Theorem." Another is that he has solved the Unified Field Theory problem. This is probably an embarrassment and disservice to Dr. Oyibo. Though there are a number of real, though retired, supporters, as well as inappropriate politicians - see http://www.geocities.com/igala1/ and http://www.geocities.com/igala1/noble.htm]
Of course, if Dr. Oyibo's work really solves the Unified Field Theory question, all of mathematics (science even) would jump to it - even steal it, at the extreme. You see, it is not that someone stole Dr. Oyibo's work, it is that no credible scientist (yes I have seen the letters at the aforementioned web site) believes that such grandiose claims can be made from his work. I repeat - this should be an embarrassment and disservice to Dr. Oyibo.
The claims are so large that I consulted a number of Mathematicians and Mathematical Physicists to validate his work (Black and White), but no one knew of this work, or anything like it - something unlikely for such large claims. The reviews in Math. Reviews were either "from the Summary" or tepid - not reviews the "most important work since Einstein" would get. Because of the first paragraph above and similar comments I made to a reporter writing an article in the the January 1999 issue of Our Times Press, on Gabriel Oyibo, I have received a number of virulent attack letters from persons claiming to be friends of Dr. Oyibo. They did not understand that I failed to dispute Oyibo just the myths surrounding his work. I repeat, the mathematics is sound but the claims about its value are outrageous. For clarity and completeness, if not for your amusement, I include some of their letters below.
A RELATED NEW YORK TIMES ARTICLE
Letters from Oyibo "supporters"
Feb 17, 1999 Adey Oyenuga wrote:
Hello Doc [Fabunmi],
Thanks for copying us with this mail...
I guess that what this boils down to is a case of 'monkey see, monkey do'. Or in this case, 'monkey no do, because monkey no see'. This yeye doctor [this term is a Nigerian slur of Scott Williams] is what shall always place the so-called 'American-Africans' where their counterparts want them. Yes, you can always count on 'one of us' to tear down another who is trying to get to the 'moutain top', not by the color of his skin, burt by the contents of his character.
However, fear not, I believe Prof. Gabriel Oyibo wouldn't be where he is today by allowing the 'Uncle Toms' [an American slur of Scott Williams] of the universe to showcase his works.
Let us pray that this (yeye) doctor [Scott Williams] carry his beef over to Kenneth Starr. For, rumor has that his boss, Janet Reno, is about to 'pull the plug' on his 'shadow-chasing' day job.
Feb 17, 1999 Nubi Achebo wrote:
This alleged stetment is unfortunate. Ignorance bleeds and the case of Dr. Williams sucks especially for a Black man. Again, pick up a few science journals and get educated on Dr. Gabriel Oyibo. You'll learn a thing or two.
Feb 17, 1999 Dr. James A. Fabunmi wrote:
Dr. Scott W. Williams:
In a section of the January 1999 issue of Our Times Press, you were quoted as saying:
"While I am not specifically familiar with this particular work of Oyibo, I wish to warn you that after I first learned of him six weeks ago I asked around the mathematics community including folks at RPI where he did his Ph.D. Many but not all of those I contacted are Black and some are Mathematical Physicists. They all have serious doubts that Oyibo's work is valuable and some wondered whether it is a press stunt as , excepting the one at RPI they have never heard of him..... etc etc"
I am writing this note to you because I was deeply troubled by a clear contradiction here. Judging by the energy and effort that you appear to devote to highlighting the contributions of "blacks" in mathematics, as evidenced by your elaborate web site, the above comment if it was truly made by you, shows up a type of Pavlovian complex from which a number of self proclaimed "black" intellectuals suffer in the United States. I say Pavlovian because I am referencing one of Pavlov's experiments in which he placed a monkey in a cage and set the ceiling of the cage very low so that each time the monkey would jump up, he struck his head against the ceiling and eventually the monkey learned not to jump too high to avoid the pain of striking his head against the ceiling. When Pavlov noticed this, he removed the ceiling entirely, and observed that the monkey henceforth never attempted to jump up beyond a given height.
Here you are, a self described "black mathematician" (as if mathematics has any color), and of course an "internationally renowned" one at that. You have just learned about someone whose work has been extensively reviewed by mathematicians from different corners of the world. You are hearing about him for the first time, and your instinctive reaction is to find some basis for dismissing the value of his work, in part because you feel that if he is black, and he is somebody, you or your friends must know about him. In other words, this cannot be true. No "black" mathematician could be capable of achieving such a feat without you knowing about him. If your friends have not heard about him, he must not be real. Have you and your friends ever heard of Olorunfemi Okunrounmu, Awojobi, Dare Afolabi, Segun Adebayo, Segun Demuren, or any of the countless individuals of African descent whose work still stand today as milestones in Aeronautical and Mechanical Engineering both in the United States and in Europe? Or do you suppose that mathematics as applied to Engineering is no longer mathematics?
Would it not have been wiser for you to hide your own ignorance by being guarded in your comments about Dr. Gabriel Oyibo? For your information, Dr. Oyibo has been publishing significant work for the better part of the past 30 years. His work on Affine Transformations as applied to fluid mechanics has solved many hithertofore intractable problems in Aerodynamics. I suggest that you get familiar with his work and educate yourself and write a retraction to the unfortunate comments that you have been quoted as making above.
Note: I received several long letters from some one claiming to be an Applied Mathematics student at MIT - a statement questionable by the statment,"mathematical solution of E=MC2" below. If this an MIT student's statment, then it is an embarrassment to MIT as her Professors would tell her.
February 19, 1999 Cindy Cooper=Kia Kitty
"I was viewing your webpage when I came upon the information you had writen on Dr.Oyibo I was woundering what you meant by this:
There seems to be a large number of myths circulating Dr. Oyibo's accomplishments. One such myth has it that Oyibo's work on E=MC2 should be compared to that of Andrew Wiles recent (1995) work on Fermat's Last Theorem. This is probably an embarrassment and disservice to Dr. Oyibo as any real mathematician will tell you there is and should be no comparison to one of the greatest mathematical works of this century.
I know of course that you where refering to Dr. Oyibo's mathematical solution of E=MC2 when you say:"one of the greatest mathematical works of this century." but the paragraph is not well structured. Also I have been informed that he has not just solved E=mc2 but discovered a Grand Unified Theory, that is he has compleated what Einstein tryed to before he died. by relating all five forces in one equasion. This is a very powerful piece of information that no one has been able to disprove. Do you know anything about this?I was wondering if you knew how I could get in touch with him.
Cindy Cooper [alterego of Oyibo's daughter, Hassana]
Applied Mathematics student at MIT
excerpts from the February 22, 1999 Cindy Cooper wrote:
"I have a problem understanding the letter you sent me, are you suggesting that, finding the answer to some riddle (Fermat's Last Theorem) which is at most a fun mind game is more important that mathematically solving Einstein's e=mc2? a action many scientist and mathematician did not think possible? ...."
Applied Mathematics student at MIT
Feb 23, 1999 Dr. James A. Fabunmi wrote:
I did not want to waste any more time on this Dr. Williams, except that I have found out that his state of mind is worse than I could have imagined. It was easy to dismiss him as a by-product of an oppressive establishment. But it turns out that he is also an untruthful individual. In his previous mails, he said he checked on Dr. Oyibo's publications and found just a few. At my last count, Dr. Oyibo has published at least 108 articles in major Journals including the AIAA Journal, the Journal of Aircraft and in various joint AIAA/ASME conferences.
In his [Scott Williams] own resume on his web site, under Publications - he says: "Look me up in Mathematical Reviews for observation of my peers". What this tells me is that this fellow suffers from a "see me lakayanna" syndrome - one that is preoccupied with perceptions and judgements of the status quo. That in itself would not be so terrible if this status quo will simply abide by what is true and verifiable. This idea of inventing opinions behind the smoke-screen of academic ivory tower is worn out already. We are in an age now where human ingenuity is directly transformable into resources for changing society (examples abound: the founders of corporations like Microsoft and Fedex were at one time or the other considered below par by the status quo - even Albert Einstein was pooh-pooh'ed by the status quo of his day). Academia is already proliferated by these types of underachievers who promote their own kind and destroy anyone that challenges their status quo. What they call "politics" in academia is a fancy word for "dishonesty". You are witnessing a self proclaimed "world renowned black mathematician" who cannot tell the simple truth.
I have just viewed your web site in which your educational information was displayed, and I appologise I assumed that you had the educational qualifications to be able to access Dr. Oyibo's work because with a Ph.D in Topology with a minor in algebra it is apparent that you are hardly qualified to view any of his publications much less judge their significance
About your statement that because Oyibo's work is not popular it must not be true is in itself hypocritical and short sighted,not only did you yourself state that one should not mix up "popularity with quality" but you forget history,(and we all know the saying about those who forget their past) Copernicus was aware that the earth was the center of the universe long before Galileo, but because no one believed him,(save "crazyies" and "heathens") and because of the help of people like you or the pope at that time who make baseless claims just to keep to some false doctrine that was FEED to them,it was not until much later that the heliocentric model was introduced (and believed) to the majority of the European continent. and if you do not think that similar situations have occurred after the scientific revolution you should seriously review your history books.
as for the lack of existence of credible scientist, his book "New Group Theory..." had been reviewed by the AMS specifically a French mathematician who has extensive knowledge in the subject and is supported by an scientist who had a PhD from Harvard in math at the age of 18.
it astounds me that you as a teacher would feel so threatened, by a students questions that you feel that you must resort to insults and paranoia (not to mention your expression of your jealousy towards Dr.Oyibo) , previous to this letter I have not once said anything negative about you. I have only asked informed questions, which you for some reason you felt so threatened by you could not even put on your website, and what about the letters you sent me, shouldn't they be on your website also? wouldn't that be a fair truthful way to represent your opinions, so people can make their own ,informed opinions?
I have view the new website and find that I compleatly understand and agree with the "Pavlovian monkey" assessment, I looked through most of your website, especially the part about "ancient African math" and I found it lacking mainly points about the angels of the great pyramids being till this day almost exact 90* angels (only off by seconds despite the shifting of the plates) or about how the three pyramids of Giza themselves are a calendar that align with the orion belt star configuration every few thousand years...etc (if you really want to let people know their history I can give you an well written thesis paper) this express a complex many African Americans suffer from, even to this day African Americans will only give themselves and their people a small amount of credit for anything they have accomplished (this probably comes from trying to do more before but just getting your head bumped up against the ceiling) but what it comes down to is you no longer need a master to whip you to get you to do his bidding of make you feel inferior to him.
What most clearly demonstrates to me that you are much worst then a Pavlovian monkey is that you yourself admit to being ignorant yet you demand to remain that way. it is clear that you are not able to discuss with me, or anyone else what is wrong (if anything) with Dr. Oyibo's Unified Field Theory, yet you not only make no attempt to learn about it, but are willing to pass judgment on it ,knowing that a lot of impressionable people will be listening to you, but as with everything that will eventually change. Scott Williams I wish you, enlightenment.
This comment is mine. Given that I am committed to highlighting the work of Blacks and do not know Dr. Oyibo, and I have no subtext - nothing to gain, yet do not agree with the above folks does not occur to them that they might be misinformed. Of course, so might I.
MATHEMATICIANS OF THE AFRICAN DIASPORA
CONTACT Dr. Williams