He said he wants to find Africa's Einsteins, The Sunday Times of London reported. "The world of science needs Africa's brilliant talents and I look forward to meeting prospective young Einsteins from Africa," Hawking said.
The project is headed by Neil Turok, a Cambridge University physicist who founded the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences near Cape Town, South Africa, four years ago, the newspaper said. The centers will be modeled on the institute's program.
"Apart from an African Einstein, we want to find the African Bill Gates and the Sergey Brins and Larry Pages of the future," said Turok, referring to the founders of Microsoft and Google.