BMS faculty member and HU professor of mathematics, Dirk Becherer, and BMS Phase II student, Todor Bilarev, were invited to the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Cameroon by the director, Prof. Dr. Mama Foupouagnigni, to provide academic support for the AIMS-Cameroon 2015/16 Structured Master's Program. Prof. Becherer taught an elective course on Stochastic Calculus for Continuous Time Finance, and Todor volunteered to help as teaching assistant during the intense schedule of daily lectures, classes and direct discussions. 

Dirk Becherer presents the BMS  

AIMS was founded in South Africa in 2003 as a pan-African center providing advanced, broadly applicable mathematical skills to talented students recruited from all over the continent. Since 2011, AIMS has opened additional centers in Senegal, Ghana, Cameroon and Tanzania.  

From 4 - 22 April 2016, Dirk and Todor lived on the AIMS-Cameroon institute, which is situated in Limbe in the south west region of Cameroon. As well as their teaching activities, they also gave a research seminar and a one-hour presentation about opportunities offered by the BMS to the 46 master's students, of whom 16 are women. Their presentation included a lively discussion and was also attended by fellow visiting lecturers Prof. Claude Bardos (U Paris Diderot) and Prof. Wolfram Koepf (U Kassel), as well as AIMS faculty and scientific staff, resulting in an audience of around 60 in total.

At the institute

Dirk first described the structure of the BMS, then explained the mathematical landscape in Berlin, and ended his talk with a personal touch by telling the story of three AIMS alumni who found their current success via the BMS by doing a PhD in Stochastics in Berlin: Victor Fenou Nzengang(current BMS Phase II), Klébert Kentia Tonleu (BMS Alumnus, now postdoc at Goethe U in Frankfurt) and Ludovic Tangpi (former BMS Phase II, now postdoc at U Vienna).
Todor talked about life as a BMS student, social activities, BMS Days and the BMS Student Conference. He also explained the BMS Friday lectures and What is? Seminars, emphasizing how beneficial these events are for meeting your peers and gaining knowledge about topics outside your field. At the end of the presentation, Dirk and Todor handed out informational material and promotional items from the BMS.

Todor Bilarev talks about being a BMS student

A total of 11 students attended Dirk's block course which Todor tutored along with an AIMS tutor. Todor prepared all the assignments, computer lab-problems and quizzes for the students. Since both Dirk and Todor were living and dining together with the students and other lecturers at the institute, the hard-working AIMS students had the chance to get to know them, and took every opportunity to ask questions and discuss things with them throughout the day and often until very late in the evening.

Extra-curricular activities were also part of the schedule: as well as sporting activities, Prof. Foupouagnigni organized two trips for his BMS guests, one to the beach and one to the university town of Buea for a hike on the slopes of Mount Cameroon. The completion of block courses by the visiting lecturers was celebrated in a moving ceremony, and on the last evening the students took Dirk and Todor out to try some local snacks and refreshments.

Todor Bilarev, Dirk Becherer, Mama Foupouagnigni and his son

Despite the searing heat, Dirk and Todor said they had a great experience at AIMS-Cameroon. They were happy to be able to share their math knowledge with the ambitious and talented students at AIMS and also to provide information about the BMS, in particular its competitive application process.

The BMS would like to thank Dirk and Todor for their efforts on behalf of the BMS, and a big thank you also goes out to Prof. Foupouagnigni for the hospitality he offered to our BMS representatives, and also for his continued support of and cooperation with the BMS!