First Black Man in American History To Be Given The Rank Of Distinguished Professor In Engineering

Prof. Barth Nnajii stands as a towering figure in the academic world. A #Nigerian by birth, he is celebrated as the first black man to attain the prestigious rank of Distinguished Professor in Engineering in the annals of American history.

His accolades and pioneering feats are numerous. Notably, he was the inaugural African to helm the United States National Science Foundation-endowed Institute for Technical Excellence. In addition, he became the first Nigerian to be honoured with the Baker Distinguished Research Medal, a recognition paralleling the Nobel Prize in Industrial Technology.

Further enhancing his illustrious credentials, both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have recognized him as the African Scientist of the Year, a testament to his unrivalled contribution to science and technology.


Born in Enugu State, Nigeria, Prof. Nnajii’s academic journey saw him graduating from St. John’s University in New York, USA, with a Bachelor of Science in Physics. Following this, he pursued further studies at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, earning both his Master’s and PhD in Engineering.

His thirst for knowledge didn’t end there. He subsequently earned a Postdoctoral Certificate in Artificial Intelligence and Robotics from the esteemed Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

Prof. Nnajii’s research endeavours primarily revolve around three pivotal domains: Computer-Aided Design, Robotics, and Computer-Aided Engineering. His insights led to the conceptualization and coining of the term “geometric reasoning.” This innovative concept revolves around the understanding that most mechanisms we interact with possess a foundational geometric configuration.

Additionally, Prof. Nnajii is celebrated as one of the trailblazers in the E-design paradigm. This concept revolutionizes product design, enabling engineers dispersed globally to collaboratively design, assemble, and test products utilizing the vast resources of the internet and computer technology.


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