Science and technology of Azania
Science and technology in Azania consists of the country's most-developed and well-financed sectors, and has a long history of rapid growth and development. Given the nature of a fair portion of the country's geography and climate, and the role it would play in the development of the nation, the sciences became an important linchpin in the capability of Azania to feed itself and thrive in the tropical climate of Sub-Saharan Africa. State-funding for higher education was deemed a priority by the first president of Azania, Alistair Barclay, both as a means of securing the industrial advancements needed for the country to thrive, as well as to begin moving away from the status of a mere "black state" that had gained its independence from colonizers. The efforts of the founding fathers of Azania have since produced astounding returns.
Azania boasts the highest number of scientists and technicians in the world, at a rate of 151 per 10,000 workers as of 2018, with 80 per 10,000 in Japan and 60 per 10,000 in Germany. Likewise, this highly-educated workforce is supported by a well-funded research and development sector in Azania. For the fiscal year of 2020, approximately 1.13% of the national GDP (PPP), or some $288.5 billion, went toward research and development spending. These financial contributions to the science and technology sector have all helped to advance Azania's capacity to support one of the world's most advanced economies, with a national infrastructure to match. Azania's highly-educated and technology-aware population have helped to increase the presence of foreign high-tech firms in Azania, and the virtually non-existent barriers to the creation of startup companies further bolster the economy. Most of these high-tech industries are located within the largest technology park in the country, TBD, which houses some TBD companies, of which TBD are startups created within the last five or ten years.
Azanians continue to expand their intellectual footprint in the rapidly-growing knowledge-based economy of the world. The country's ranks highly in terms of technological literacy, with the overwhelming bulk of Azanians understanding the various principles of science and technology necessary for an increasingly digital world. The capital city of Independence, D.L. was rated as the most technologically-influential city in the world in 2017 by TBD. Advancements in energy production have been spearheaded by Azania, with a mandate from the Ickes administration in 1983, to develop an alternate source of power in the form of fusion power by the year 2022. Other advancements in the field of electromagnetic weaponry, i.e., railguns, telecommunications and wireless technologies, and reusable spaceflight equipment and infrastructure, have also been major fields dominated by Azanian scientists and engineers.
The foundations for Azania's academic institutions are often credited to entrepreneur Gilles Young and Dr. Cornell Gaffron, and their joint sponsorship for the establishment of the University of Independence (now Gaffron–Young University) in 1868. Gaffron migrated to Azania in 1862 during the height of the American Civil War, seeking to continue his practice of medicine in the new colony. He found the region to be lacking in medical professions, but had no means of securing the funding to help bolster the number of doctors and nurses in Azania. Young, who had arrived a decade earlier in 1853, had made his fortune in shipping and whaling, and wished to invest his profits into a venture that would benefit the population that he counted himself apart of. Having heard of Graffon's plight through a shared gentlemen's club the two were members of, both Young and Gaffron agreed to a joint venture that would see the foundation of a new academic institution within the new nation. They began by laying out the road map for the construction of a new university that would serve as an incubator, and give birth to the first generation of scientists and engineers locally-trained and educated by those who would serve as the mentors to Azania's freshly minted academic elite.
The two men were able to secure the donations of several colleagues in the colony to provide a lump sum of $150,000 dollars, matched with another contribution of $350,000 dollars from the Unified Conference for Negro Advancement (UCNA); the latter provided after news of the initiative reached Alistair Barclay, governor of the Azania Territory. The funds were enough to help with the construction of a university on the outskirts of Independence, D.L., and hire on several black academic professionals who had arrived without work or pay from the former United States, as well as other nations such as France, the United Kingdom, and Canada. The endowment was likewise enough to invest in various sectors of education and the growing economy, to help provide a continuous flow of additional revenue for the university's sustained operations. Over the next several years, thousands of Azanians were educated at the new institution, with the vast majority studying fields of practical use in the modern world.
Various individuals to graduate from the University of Independence included Marcus Stackpole, Sasha Wilkinson, Jean-Michel Darche, Judeline Seraphin, and Marian Ardouin, among others who would go on to contribute to the explosive growth of scientific advancement in the country. Due to the need for well-educated engineers to aid in the reclamation of water-logged lands, remove of acidic tropical soil, and maintenance of new industrial equipment necessary for the growing manufacturing sector in Azania, the plentiful supply of work saw even more members of the population attain a higher education, with the majority of the tuition for the students paid for out of pocket by leading members of the Azanian government , philanthropists such as Mikhail Nazarov and Basile Thibodeaux, and foreign groups interested in seeing the rapid growth of the intelligentsia in what was hoped to be the first truly successful black country build and sustained by blacks, rather than their European counterparts in an increasingly divided, impoverished, and colonized Africa.
Though the seeds of the scientific and academic professions were planted by two men seeking purely altruistic goals, the racial argument that drove most if not all early policies within Azania would dominate the direction of science and technology within the scientific community of the island nation. Many of those who graduated from the university went on to contribute to the industrialization of Azania, and founded many of their own universities with the goal of educating a generation of black individuals who would stay on par with the nations who once oppressed them for centuries. Others sought to develop means of closing the gap between Azania and the more powerful nations surrounding it, and with their successful careers helped to fund the advancement of the intellectual elite that would later steer most of the education for the country's youth at all levels of schooling. Regardless of the motives of its fore-bearers, the pressing need for agricultural growth, industrialization, shipbuilding, and overall increase in the standard of living, helped to drive the formation of a robust and dynamic core of scientists, engineers, and teachers, who would urge the reading of books and study of nature for the sake of Azania's advancement culturally and intellectually.
The period of rapid industrialization throughout the country from 1890 to 1930 witnessed the expansion of the nation's educational system from the cities into the countryside, as the need for skilled workers in both the factories and the farmlands saw the birth of charter schooling on a national scale. Counties and municipalities that could not afford to fund a school out of pocket were able to lean on the distribution of education charters to private individuals, groups, or institutions, allowing distant and relatively impoverished locations of Azania to benefit from a strong educational foundation being laid out by the state. Early investment into these private schools, each tailored to the specific needs of the communities they resided in, allowed the average Azanian to attain a quality education that equipped them well as a skilled laborer capable of making educated decisions on an individual basis. This would in turn, lay the base for a progressively-minded generation of young adults interested in information gathering as taught to them during their elementary schooling years; vital to the scientific community growing within Azania.
Seeking to capitalize upon Azania's wealth of well-educated youth, the Department of Science and Technology was established in 1921 by President Lucas Morrison with the goal of harnessing the academic capacity of the country, and focusing it into financial and industrial spheres of Azania's economy to advance the nation's interests. Charter schools and universities were granted easy access to accreditation, allowing them to attain legal status as educational institutions for the primary goal of teaching technical skills to Azania's youth. With a system devoted solely to the field of science and technology, as well as engineering and medical sciences, Azania's government adopted a "hands-free" approach to the matter, allowing the schools to provide the best education available to the students with the full backing and resources of the state. This provided a fertile ground for those individuals seeking to test new theories, publish scientific papers, and access highly-regarded and well-established intellectuals, to grow and expand their understanding of the sciences free from financial limitations and institutional obstacles.
Though other fields of academia were not heavily or intentionally neglected by the state and the scientific community, due to the ease of access to degrees and employment in STEM field occupations, the sciences became the most popular fields of study within Azania. The overabundance of doctors, technicians, engineers, and scientists in Azania resulted in a shortage of work in those fields, leading many Azanians to head overseas to seek employment. Many famous scientists in Azanian history, such as TBD, TBD, and TBD, were some of the individuals who left the country in the 1930s to look for work in other countries following the completion of their advanced education back home. TBD famously took up residence in the United Commonwealth to teach nuclear physics at the University of Chicago, while TBD pioneered early fusion power theory in TBD, leading to a number of vital breakthroughs in that field.
Cold War developments
Higher education policies
Federal scientific policies
Notable academic centers
Since the 1950s, Azania academic centers have, with full government backing, been pioneering various methods of developing affordable and sustainable fusion power for general consumption. The Azanian Advanced Research Center (ARC-2), is credited with the development of the HEAT (High Energy, Affordable, Thermonuclear) fusion reactor, which aims at producing a compact fusion reactor capable of providing energy returns at least three to four times that required to power the reactor itself. Most of the prototype models built across the country have managed yields of about .68% of the energy provided to the reactor. Azanian scientist made history in 2013 when the ARC-2 Thermonuclear Research Center fusion reactor produced a yield of .83%, with a 32MW power input provided at the site. Such developments, though small in terms of their general impact, are absolute scientific strides in advancement of power generation, as the prior record, set by the Joint European Torus (JET) in 1997, only managed a yield of about .69%.
With a near equal yield of 100% in just a decade and a half, many within the scientific community have expressed confidence in a major breakthrough in the development of a sustainable fusion reaction within the next decade. These developments coincide with the construction of additional prototype reactors throughout Azania for the purpose of helping advance research into the future power source, as well as laying down what may one day become the first network of fusion power generation sites in the world. These reactors are apart of the Gridfire Energy Project (GEP), named-so after the fiction extra-dimensional energy source from Iain Banks' Culture series, a popular set of writings within the Azanian scientific community. The GEP initiative seeks to replace all energy sources within Azania with renewables, and plans to incorporate fusion power into the project as a cornerstone for the future Azanian power grid.