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14 December 2020
Prof Abdon Atangana
Prof Abdon Atangana is known for his work in developing a new fractional operator used to model real-world problems arising in the fields of science, technology, and engineering. He was recently awarded the TWAS Mohammad A. Hamdan Award by The World Academy of Sciences.

Prof Abdon Atangana, Professor of Applied Mathematics in the Institute for Groundwater Studies at the University of the Free State (UFS), was awarded the TWAS Mohammad A. Hamdan Award by The World Academy of Sciences for the advancement of science in developing countries.

It is the first time that the TWAS Mohammad A. Hamdan Award was bestowed. According to a statement issued by TWAS, this award is given for outstanding mathematical work carried out by a scientist working and living in Africa or the Arab region. It states that the award can be given for work in pure mathematics, applied mathematics, probability, or statistics. Prof Atangana received the award for his contribution to fractal mathematics and partial differential equations.

Making a difference in society

He is known for his research in developing a new fractional operator, the Atangana-Baleanu operator, which is used to model real-world problems. With this operator, he not only describes the rate at which something will change, but also account for disrupting factors that will help to produce better projections.

His work can be applied to make complicated predictions in the fields of science, technology, and engineering. His models can, for instance, help to predict the spread of infectious diseases among people in a settlement, forecasting the number of people who will be infected each day, the number of people who will recover, and the number of people who will die.

Prof Atangana’s models can also help to advise people drilling for water by predicting how groundwater is flowing in a complex geological formation. These are only two examples of how his work can be applied to make a difference in society.

The award from TWAS is the third prestigious commendation he has received in the past month. He was recently named as one of the top 1% scientists on the global Clarivate Web of Science list. His name also appeared on a global list of leading scientists published by Stanford University in the United States. The list is the result of a study published in PLOS Biology, a peer-reviewed open-access journal.

World’s most accomplished scientists

Honours awarded by TWAS and its partners are among the most prestigious for research in the developing world. They recognise outstanding achievements and contributions to science and acknowledge the best work by scientists from the global South.

TWAS, founded in 1983 by a group of scientists under the leadership of Pakistani physicist and Nobel laureate, Abdus Salam, believes that developing nations – by growing strength in science and engineering – will be able to address challenges such as hunger, disease, and poverty, through their knowledge and skills.

TWAS is represented in 100 countries, and of the more than a thousand elected fellows, 14 are Nobel laureates. Eighty-four percent of these fellows are from developing nations. TWAS fellows are also some of the world’s most accomplished scientists.

News Archive

UFS on energy-saving mode
2009-09-15

The University of the Free State (UFS) has undertaken several measures to reduce energy consumption on the Main Campus in Bloemfontein.

“Part of Eskom’s strategy is that all the main universities must reduce their electricity consumption. Because the university is the second biggest user of electricity in Bloemfontein we have to cut our consumption according to the new energy policy,” said Prof. Niel Viljoen, Chief Director of Operations at the UFS.

“Electricity is also expensive and if we look at global warming and everybody’s responsibility, I think we all have a moral obligation to save energy,” said Prof. Viljoen.

“The energy crisis of January 2008 and beyond, with its load-shedding limitations, was a major driver for the government to introduce the Power Conservation Scheme,” said Mr Anton Calitz, the UFS’s electrical engineer.

The measures put in place by the UFS include amongst others:

The introduction of a solar water-heating system in the residences, which is a first of its kind in Bloemfontein.
An investigation is also being launched into alternatives and the effective heating of rooms in the residences.

Feasibility studies are currently being conducted to determine whether energy saving can be achieved with radiation panels.

Energy-saving lights have been installed in the following buildings: the Architecture Building, Genmin Lectorium, Geology lecture halls, Winkie Direko Building, George du Toit Building, Sasol Library, Francois Retief Building, as well as in the residences. This measure has resulted in massive energy saving.

Energy meters for the Library, Computer Laboratory Building, François Retief Building and Steyn Substation are being planned as the first phase.

Real-time metering will result in every UFS computer user being aware of power consumption on the campus.

New lift motors and control systems that reduce energy consumption have been installed at the Agriculture and the George du Toit Buildings.

In the Computer Laboratory Building the temperature adjusting point for the venues is set at 22 °C and, in the case of new projects, green guidelines are applied.

It is expected that the government and local authorities will bring more pressure to bear on the UFS to save energy. Applications for increased capacity will possibly be linked to energy-saving targets.

This trend will continue until 2014 when additional power stations will be put into operation.

“Our aim is to save 10% on energy consumption,” said Prof. Viljoen.

“Heavy financial penalties will be imposed if a 10% saving is not achieved,” added Mr Calitz.

On average, our energy consumption per day this year is 128,964 kWh as compared to last year’s 119,752 kWh.

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt.stg@ufs.ac.za  
14 September 2009

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