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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

Student Transformation Forum kicks off
2010-08-19

Ms Nida Jooste and Ms Modieyi Mothole
Photo: Lize du Plessis

The establishment of a Broad Student Transformation Forum (BSTF) at the University of the Free State (UFS) was initiated yesterday with a student consultative forum called to determine the agenda and delegations to the BSTF.

The establishment of the BSTF follows the suspension of the functioning of the Student Representative Council (SRC) recently and aims to provide students broadly with the opportunity to reach consensus regarding student governance at the Main Campus in Bloemfontein.

The meeting was chaired by student affairs specialist Prof. Cecil Bodibe and was attended by representatives from student associations from all faculties, representatives of non-faculty student associations and representatives from residences. Commuter students were represented through private student associations.

“The meeting clearly expressed agreement that decisions taken by the BSTF should ensure that the student body and student-life programmes truly reflect our constitutional commitment to building a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic society, and that collaboration between students and management in affecting the decisions of the BSTF to achieve this should be prioritised,” Mr Rudi Buys, Dean of Student Affairs, said.

The forum agreed that apart from addressing specific questions pertaining to student governance, the BSTF should also address transformation issues broadly. The forum also agreed that the delegations to the BSTF should ensure that the forum is truly representative of the diverse student population and is inclusive of all stakeholder groups, including international students and students with disability. A proper process to determine the credentials of participating association was requested and will be implemented.

The meeting furthermore expressed the wish that the BSTF should exist only to determine the key changes that should be made to student governance now, so that the postponed SRC elections may continue as soon as possible. The BSTF will thus have a temporary role to enable the student body to reach consensus regarding changes to the SRC constitution.

Meanwhile, an Interim Student Committee (ISC) was appointed, which has the role to ensure the continuation of daily student life programmes and to ensure student representation in management and governance of the university continues during the deliberations of the BSTF. The ISC serves as an interim structure that will dissolve when a new SRC takes office following the outcome of the BSTF and the continuation of the SRC election.

The ISC consists of 15 members who were appointed through a process of nomination of four (4) members each from the faculty-student associations, non-faculty student associations and from residences, and three (3) members from the student executive committees of Kovsie Community Service, the Irawa student newspaper and the Kovsie Rag executive committee.

The ISC elected Ms Modieyi Mothole and Ms Nida Jooste as its chairperson and deputy-chairperson, respectively.
“I’m encouraged with the initiative and response of students to ensure student governance continues, which bears witness to the depth of leadership our student body holds, while the level of engagement by students in the BSTF indicates that the student body seriously consider issues of transformation,” said Mr Buys.

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Director: Strategic Communication (actg.)
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl@ufs.ac.za  
19 August 2010
 

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