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Dr. Philip Emeagwali is considered one of the fathers of the internet. His journey of chasing happiness by rising to the challenge pushed him to overcome very difficult circumstances. Today we dive into how Dr. Philip Emeagwali amassed so much success and influence from such humble beginnings.
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From humle beginnings
Phillip was the oldest of nine siblings growing up in Akure, Nigeria. His father always knew his son had a special awareness when it came to processing numbers. In fact, many in his hometown friends thought of him as a prodigy and he was even nicknamed, calculus.
The life of Dr. Philip Emeagwali changed when the civil war broke out in Nigeria. Phillip was drafted and the rest of his family was sent to a refugee camp. Conditions were so barren in the refugee camp that over half-million people died of starvation.
When the war ended, Philip’s desire was to return to school and resume his studies. Unfortunately, the school was a two-hour walk and his family did not have the money to continue paying tuition.
See challenges as opportunities
Dr. Philip Emeagwali did not allow his circumstances to stop him from trying. Instead, Phillip passed a high school equivalency test and applied for scholarships to attend college. Dr. Philip Emeagwali ended up receiving a scholarship to the US in 1974 and attended Oregon State University. He received his bachelors in mathematics and later his master’s in Ocean and Marine Engineering from George Washington University. He received his second master’s in applied economics before working in a doctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan.
It was at this fellowship where he attempted to work with several microprocessors instead of a couple supercomputers. Dr. Philip Emeagwali said he conceived the idea from watching the way bees worked in the beehive. Bees are able to process information very quickly amongst each other and they can accomplish more together than alone.
The perfect model
You find plenty of human’s greatest advances are tied to the beautiful design of nature. That is why the submarine looks like a whale and why the helicopter looks like a dragonfly. Humans recognize the beauty and perfection that went into designing nature, so we model is in our own designs. Keep this in mind next time you are enjoying a walk outside. Is there a message you can receive from nature that can change the way world?
Simple but not easy
As simple as Dr. Philip Emeagwali can make something as difficult as computer calculations sound, you have the same ability. Each of us have an ability others would consider a superpower. There is something that is simple to you, but difficult to everyone else. If you are not sure what your super power is, a great place to start searching is your childhood. Phillip was recognized by his friends and family as someone who was great at math. It was something that came simple to him and he allowed himself to continue growing that skill set. He could have decided to worry about how many opportunities were available to him in Nigeria, but instead, Dr. Philip Emeagwali chased happiness by rising to the challenge.
From newbie to expert
Did you know the first time Dr. Philip Emeagwali saw a computer was in 1974 when he came to America for college? That was also the first time he saw a library and the telephone. To be introduced to computers in 1974 and to be able to understand them to the point he could create the ability for 65,000 processors to talk to each other is astounding. Phillip’s work created the ability to information to be processed at 3.1 billion calculations; which was significantly better than the supercomputer at the time. This was unheard of at the time and his work became the foundation for the internet and an Apple computer.
Philip Emeagwali catches greatness
Dr. Philip Emeagwali is recognized by his peers for his contribution to computing and received the Gordon Bell award. This award is considered the Nobel Prize of computing.
When you are chasing happiness, start by looking at things you enjoyed as a child. Is there anything that was easy for you that people always complimented you on? Society teaches you to let go of your childhood dreams, but if you retrace your steps, you can find your superpower. There is a contribution you know you can offer the world that will leave the world a better place than you found it. You simply need to take small actions everyday to accomplish your goals.
More articles you may enjoy:
- Chasing Happiness by Rising to the Challenge
- How Chasing Happiness Will Help You Catch Greatness
- Taking Risks Is An Essential Part Chasing Happiness
- Four Steps to Create Happiness in Times of Adversity
Until next time,
Dre “Better Self ,Better Wealth” Griggs
Sources: Nigerian-American Computer Pioneer: https://www.thoughtco.com/philip-emeagwali-4689182