Deceased Academicians

Daniel Adzei Bekoe


Daniel Adzei Bekoe

Date of birth 07 December 1928

Place Accra, Ghana (Africa)

Nomination 26 September 1983

Field Chemistry/X-ray Crystallography

Title Professor, Chairman of the Council of State

Place and date of death Accra, Ghana † 05 September 2020

  • Biography
  • Publications
  • Commemoration

Most important awards, prizes and academies
Lecturer, University of Ghana (1958); promoted from Senior Lecturer etc. to Professor of Chemistry (1974); Pro-Vice-Chancellor, University of Ghana (1972-75); Vice-Chancellor (1976-83). Various periods spent at University of California at Los Angeles, USA, and University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Director, UNESCO Regional Office of Science and Technology for Africa (1983-85); Regional Director, International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Regional Office Eastern and Southern Africa based in Nairobi (1986). Served on Councils and Committees of various UN bodies; President of the International Council of Scientific Unions (1980-83). Member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences.

Summary of scientific research
He pursued his university career first at the University of California at Los Angeles, and from 1958 at the University of Ghana in Legon, where he has spent all his career and became Vice-Chancellor in 1976. His scientific research has principally been in crystallography. Using x-rays he has studied the structure of various natural organic substances and syntheses. In recent years he has devoted himself to the solution of problems of development in Africa and the education of young African students. He has worked in various international organizations, especially UNESCO and the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU), of which he was President 1980-1983.

Main publications
Bekoe, D.A., The Crystal Structure of i-Erythritol and its relationships to some derived d and 1 and racemic substances (with Powell, H.M.), Proceedings of the Royal Society, 250 A, pp. 301-15 (1959); Bekoe, D.A., The Crystal Structure of Tetracyanoethylene (with Trueblood, K.N.), Zeitschrift für Krystallographie, 113, pp. 1-22 (1960); Bekoe, D.A., The Crystal Structure of the Hexahydrated Calcium Salt of Hexacyanoisobutylene (with Gantzel, P.K. and Trueblood, K.N.), Acta Crystallographica, 22, pp. 657-665 (1967); Bekoe, D.A., A Re-investigation of the Crystal Structure of Tetracyanoethylene (with Trueblood, K.N.),Abstracts of Bozeman Meeting of the American Crystallographic Association, p. 87 (1964); Bekoe, D.A., Molecular Structure of Cedrela Odorata Substance B (with Adeoye, S.A.),Chemical Communications, 14, pp. 301-2 (1965); Bekoe, D.A., The Crystallographic Evidence for the Molecular Structure of Mexicanolide, Ph.D. Thesis of S.A. Adeoye (1967); Bekoe, D.A., The Crystal Structure of N, N-Diethyldithiocarbamato-triphenylstanne, M.Sc. Thesis of K.A. Woode (1975); Bekoe, D.A., Hexamethylbenzene-Tetracyamoethylene (1:1) Complex at 113K: Structure and Energy Calculations (with Maverick, E. and Trueblood, K.N.), Acta Crystallographica, B 34, pp. 2777-2781 (1978); Bekoe, D.A., The Dilemma of the Scientist (Contribution to a Symposium on 'Building an Intellectual Community in Ghana',Proceedings of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences) (1970), pp. 61-4; Bekoe, D.A., The Energy Problem in Perspective, Proceedings of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, XIV, pp. 15-24 (1976); Bekoe, D.A., International Cooperation in Science and Technology for Development Statement on the Symposium, International Symposium on Science and Technology for Development, Singapore, 22-26 January, 1979, pp. 7-13; Bekoe, D.A., Mobilizing Science and Technology to Increase Endogenous Capabilities in Developing Countries, Science, Technology and Society – Needs, Challenges and Limitations (K.H. Standke and M. Anandakrishna, eds.), Pergamon Press (1980), pp. 457-63.

Professor Daniel Adzei Bekoe passed on to glory on 5 September 2020 at the age of 91.

He was a former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, and the second Ghanaian to be appointed Vice Chancellor of the University. The University of Ghana is a premier university in Ghana. Professor Bekoe was appointed Vice Chancellor for an initial five years, from 1 January 1976 to 30 September 1981.

He was reappointed for a second term of five years; however, he informed the university council of his inability to serve the full term. He resigned from the position on 30 September 1983, when he took voluntary retirement from the University of Ghana.

He was one of the first students to be accepted by the newly established University College of the Gold Coast, now called the University of Ghana, to study science in 1948. After studying for a period of five years, he passed the BSC special chemistry degree examination in June 1953. He was the first student of the University College to graduate with a first-class honours degree in the BSC special chemistry program. Professor Bekoe spent a further year at the University College of the Gold Coast, which is now the University of Ghana, researching into crystallography.

In 1954 he proceeded to the University of Oxford as a postgraduate student, while in 1956 he completed a degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Crystallography.

After graduation, Professor Bekoe worked with Professor K.N. Trueblood, one of the most distinguished American scientists of international standing in the field of crystallography at that time at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Professor Bekoe started his career as a lecturer in chemistry at the University of Ghana in 1958, was promoted to the rank of senior lecturer in 1963, associate professor in 1996 and professor in 1974. From January 1996 to December 1967 Professor Bekoe was a Ford Foundation visiting associate professor in chemistry at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria, where he taught physical chemistry and set up a crystallographic laboratory. 

Professor Bekoe gained eminence internationally as a scientist and was highly regarded. Typical of the international view of him is one expressed by Professor Trueblood, who said of him, “In addition to being bright, perceptive and efficient at research in this field of crystallography, Dr Bekoe has all the personal qualities which one would ask for someone in a responsible academic position. He is articulate, thoughtful, considerate and interested in a wide range of fields. Given the opportunity to do research, I am sure he could compete favorably for a good university position in America or in Great Britain, and I believe that any institution that he serves would be fortunate”. 

Professor Bekoe’s service to the University of Ghana was equally distinguished. He served on numerous boards and committees of the university. He was a senior tutor and hallmaster of the premier hall, which is called Legon Hall, and acted as the head of the Department of Chemistry. He was a Dean of the then Faculty of Science from 1971 to 1974, and was elected Vice Chancellor of the University, a post which he held for two terms from 1972 to 1975. 

He was thus an experienced administrator who was very familiar with the problems of the university and competent to handle them. During his academic career at the university, Professor Bekoe served as a member, and later President, of the Ghana Science Association; Fellow and then Vice President of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, treasurer and later Vice President of the International Council of Scientific Unions, a member of the Council of United Nations University, and fellow of the Chemical Society. For his services to education, science and public service, the State of Ghana made him a member of the Order of the Star of Ghana, which is the highest state honor in 2006. He was also a member of the Council of States, which is supposed to advise the President and later the Chairman of the Council from 2005 to 2008. For his services to the Department of Chemistry and the University of Ghana, the university named after him a building which is a general science laboratory in 2013.

May the soul of our former Vice Chancellor, who served the University of Ghana so well, rest in perfect peace, thank you.

Felix Asante, University of Ghana

Professional Address

P.O. Box CT 3383
Cantonments, Accra (Ghana)