Dubai: Who is the smartest person in the Arab world? It very well may be a Yemeni national living in Dubai who has been honoured with a major international award recognising genius.
The World Genius Directory 2013 Genius of the Year Award was presented to Arab scientist and mathematician Dr Manahel Thabet recently for her work leading to a ground-breaking formula in quantum mathematics.
“When the universe exists, the sky is not the limit,” Dr Manahel told Gulf News in an interview on the sidelines of a special ceremony in her honour. Believed to be the youngest and only Arab with a PhD in Financial Engineering with a magna cum laude honour and an intelligence quotient of over 168, she is among only 0.1 per cent of humanity blessed with such intelligence.
Manahel was honoured in Dubai at a private gathering by Yemen’s minister of expatriate affairs Mujahed Al Guhali and officials from the Yemeni consulate in Dubai.
“I felt very grateful, proud and excited. Grateful because of the giftedness God has granted me, proud to be the only woman and the youngest among all the other three winners and to represent Asia, and excited because I hope this will draw attention to the Arab gifted individuals,” she said.
Considered as one of the few Arabs in the field of Quantum Mathematics, Manahel said she was always driven by a deep passion for science and quantum physics. She says her mathematical formula, which could forever change our understanding of what we consider space, also reflects her avid interest in space since childhood.
“I am an economist in essence and a scientist driven by deep passion,” she says.
Having worked on the 350-page formula relating to ‘Structure Variation Hyper Arithmetical Sort Operators and Applications’ for a few years now, Manahel along with her team is trying to redefine the method of measuring distances across the universe using new particles. Her formula, which has caught the attention of space agencies such as Nasa and the French space agency, could help scientists and space researchers measure distances in space in the absence of light.
“The international science community will be able to use it [formula] for development purposes for the betterment of humanity,” she said.
Her PhD thesis is also a notable contribution to the Financial Engineering Society’s body of research. “The thesis has made contributions to finance research studies including the theory of interest rate behaviour and empirical testing of arbitrage pricing theory in the financial markets,” she says.
As the conversation veers back to her quantum mathematics work, Manahel says that “in the case of success, [the thesis] will be a revolutionary expansion of the science of mathematics together with quantum physics.”
Manahel recalls getting top grades in maths and physics throughout her school years. “My dream was to be an astronaut,” she said. “I carried this passion with me, and yes, I couldn’t go to space physically but I am conquering it virtually.”
Manahel is also an achiever in other respects. She is president of her own Dubai-based consultancy firm Smart Tips Consultancy and is always looking forward to learning something new each day from both the business and research perspectives.
With the field of finance being vast, gauging economic trends in the world is quite challenging, she says. “Looking into financial structures in a quantitative aspect is now the best way to analyse, predict, direct and strategise for a financial move,” she says.
Manahel isn’t getting carried away by the recognition from her research findings. “I am taking it as it comes,” she said.
Besides her latest award, Manahel is the winner of the HOT 100 award for most influential people of 2012, a United Nations humanitarian award, and the Academic Excellence Award 2012 at the Hamdan Bin Rashid awards.