Professor Alexander ObiefokaEnukoraAnimalu was born on the 28th of August 1938 at Oba in Idemili South LGA of Anambra State of Nigeria. He attended the Dennis Memorial Grammar School, Onitsha (1952–1958) earning grade 1 in the West African School Certificate in 1956 and Cambridge Higher School Certificate (in science subjects) in 1958. He earned the London Advanced Level Certificate (in Arts subjects) in January 1959 and in October 1959 joined the University College, Ibadan (now the University of Ibadan) on Shell-BP scholarship, graduating BSc (Mathematics) Second Class (Upper Division) at the top of his class in June 1962. He won the Faculty of Science Prize for best performance for two consecutive years (parts I and II), as well as the College Postgraduate Scholarship that saw him through the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom from 1962 to 1965 where he obtained MA (Cantab.) and PhD (Mathematics) (Ibadan) in Theoretical Solid State Physics. His mainline Ph.D. research work, subsequently published in the Philosophical Magazine became a citation classic by 1983, having been cited more than 729 times between 1965 and 2001. In 2013, the article was listed by Thomson Reuters (at number 13) among the Top 100 cited Philosophical Magazine articles of all time (between 1900 and 2010). It is of interest to note that the Philosophical Magazine is one of the oldest scientific journals published in English and was the journal of choice for such physics luminaries as Faraday, Joule, Maxwell, J.J. Thomson, Rayleigh and Rutherford. Between 1966 and 1976, he worked in various American institutions, including academic positions at Stanford University, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; University of Missouri at Rolla; and Drexel University at Philadelphia, culminating in an appointment as a research physicist at the Lincoln Laboratory, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His research at MIT led to the publication of the book entitled “Intermediate Quantum Theory of Crystalline Solids” by Prentice-Hall in 1977. An Indian edition was published in 1978 and was translated into Russian by the Russian Academy of Science in 1981 & the 2nd edition (2014) was printed by SNAAP Press Ltd Enugu. He returned to Nigeria to become a Professor of Theoretical Solid State Physics in the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, in 1976.
Professor Animalu rose in academic positions becoming Head of Department of Physics, UNN in 1981 and 1994 and Dean, Faculty of the Physical Sciences, UNN (1987/88).
Professor Animalu was the 1990 Ahiajoku lecturer, the highest Igbo academic forum. His theory of high-temperature superconductivity based on the novelty of the pairing mechanism for electrons was published in Hadronic Journal in 1991. He has trained many Nigerians in the field of theoretical physics and solar energy and established two youth organizations, Society for Promotion of Indigenous Inventions and Creativity (SPIIC) and Century-21 Club.
Prof. Animalu was appointed Director and Chief Executive of the National Mathematical Center, Abuja (April 1999–January 2001). He retired in June 2001 as Emeritus Professor of Physics to become the founding Chairman/CEO of the International Center for Basic Research. For his contributions to national development, Professor Animalu received the 2000 Nigerian National Order of Merit (NNOM) Award for Basic Science (Nigeria’s highest award for intellectual and academic achievement). He became the President of Nigeria Academy of Science (the Apex scientific organization in Nigeria) (2001/02), and in 2001, he was appointed a member of the Honorary Presidential Advisory Council on Science and Technology in Nigeria.
The only African member till date of the Advisory Board of the Euro-Journal Physica(B) and the only African member of the Editorial Board of the USA-based international Hadronic Journal and Hadronic Journal Supplement, he is also the founding editor of the Nigerian Journal of Solar Energy and one of the pioneering editors of the Bulletin of the Nigerian Institute of Physics. He was the Foundation President of the Solar Energy Society of Nigeria, foundation editor, Nigerian Journal of Solar Energy, and former President of the Nigerian Academy of Science.
At 70 in 2008, he began to organize annual conferences – the International Seminar on Theoretical Physics and National Development (ISOTPAND) – in partnership with the National Mathematical Centre, Abuja and his NGO, the International Centre for Basic Research, Abuja. Professor Animalu is author of numerous scientific articles in refereed journals and more than 30 books in both the sciences and the humanities, including the biographies of Rt. Hon. Dr. NnamdiAzikiwe, Professor Chike Obi, Professor Kenneth Dike, Professor Samuel Okoye, Professor James Ezeilo, Prof. Chukwuedu Nwokolo, Prof. Agodi Onwumechili among others.