Born on 9 August 1932 in Saltpond, a Fante town in the Central Region of Ghana, Allotey’s father was Joseph Kofi Allotey, a general commodities merchant, and his mother was Alice Esi Nyena Allotey, a dressmaker from the Royal Dehyena family of Enyan Owomase and Ekumfi Edumafa in the same region. Allotey’s father owned a bookstore, and during his childhood, Allotey spent his free time there reading biographies of famous scientists, which sparked his interest in science. He had his primary education at St. John the Baptist Catholic (Boys) School in Saltpond and was among the pioneer batch of Ghana National College when it was founded in July 1948 by Kwame Nkrumah.
After completing his secondary education, Allotey attended the University Tutorial College in Ghana and the London Borough Polytechnic. He later earned his master’s and doctorate degrees from Princeton University in 1966 and earlier obtained the Diploma of Imperial College in 1960, where he was tutored by Pakistani Nobel prize-winning physicist Abdus Salam as an undergraduate. During his time at Princeton, Allotey was mentored by many physicists such as Robert Dicke, Val Fitch, Robert Oppenheimer, Paul A. M. Dirac, and C. N. Yang. Allotey was raised a Roman Catholic.
Francis Allotey was a renowned Ghanaian mathematician and physicist, who was widely recognized for his groundbreaking work on soft X-ray spectroscopy. He is known for the “Allotey Formalism” which arose from his work on soft X-ray spectroscopy. He received the UK Prince Philip Golden Award in 1973 for his exceptional contributions to the field. As the first Ghanaian full professor of mathematics and head of the Department of Mathematics, he was a founding fellow of the African Academy of Sciences and later served as the Dean of the Faculty of Science at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.
Allotey was not only a distinguished scholar but also a respected leader in the scientific community. He held numerous prestigious positions in various international scientific organizations, including the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics Scientific Council and the African Physical Society, which he helped to establish. He was also instrumental in getting Ghana to join the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics and collaborated with the IUPAP and ICTP to encourage physics education in developing countries through workshops and conferences.
Allotey’s legacy extends beyond his scientific and academic accomplishments. He was a champion of computer education in Africa and worked closely with organizations such as IBM International and the International Federation for Information Processing. He was also an esteemed consultant for many international institutions, including UNESCO, IAEA, and UNIDO. He received several honors and awards throughout his career, including the Millennium Excellence Award in 2005, and was posthumously awarded the Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah African Genius Award in 2017.
Today, Allotey’s impact continues to be felt through the Professor Francis Allotey Graduate School, which was established in his honor in 2009 at the Accra Institute of Technology. The institute provides advanced degrees in various fields, including business administration, software engineering, and information technology. His dedication to promoting education and scientific advancement in Africa will always be remembered as a cornerstone of his extraordinary legacy.
His Personal Life
Francis Allotey was married twice. His first wife was Edoris Enid Chandler, who he met while studying in London. They had two children together, Francis Kojo Enu Allotey and Joseph Kobina Nyansa Allotey. After Chandler’s death in November 1981, Allotey remarried Ruby Asie Mirekuwa Akuamoah, with whom he raised her two children, Cilinnie and Kay. Akuamoah passed away in October 2011. In total, Allotey had four children and 20 grandchildren.
Francis Allotey passed away on 2 November 2017 due to natural causes. The Ghanaian government honored him with a state funeral in recognition of his contributions to science and technology in Ghana. His final resting place was in his hometown of Saltpond, Central Region.