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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 outlines research achievements
2011-09-02

 

At the launch of the 2010 Annual Research Report, were from the left: Mr Robert Kriger, the director for Policy and Strategy at the National Research Foundation (NRF); Prof. Driekie Hay, Vice-Rector: Academic and Prof. Frans Swanepoel, Senior Director: Research Development.
Photo: Stephen Collett

The University of the Free State (UFS) is well on course for delivery on its most important academic duty as a research university. This was the message that came forward at the launch of the 2010 Annual Research Report of the UFS on 30 August 2011.

Speakers at the launch, which included Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector, as well as Prof. Driekie Hay, Vice-Rector: Academics outlined the key strategies and achievements of the UFS for the 2010 academic year. This included the establishment of a Postgraduate School at the UFS, the first of its kind at a public university in South Africa. Prof. Hay told guests that the aim of the Postgraduate School was to broaden research and deepens scholarship on postgraduate education in the country. She highlighted some initiatives the UFS undertook in 2010 to build and maintain its intellectual capital. Some of these initiatives included the appointment of seven senior professors and recruiting more female and black scholars and academics.   
Also speaking at the event was Mr Robert Kriger, the director for Policy and Strategy at the National Research Foundation (NRF). Kriger reflected on the brilliant minds of scholars such as Archie Mafeje, Lewis Nkosi and Dennis Brutus and argued for efforts to increase the country’s research output.
Some highlights of the 2010 Annual Research Report:
  • The total funding available for research at the UFS increased from approximately R199 million in 2009 to just over R210 million in 2010. A total of R31.8 million was made available from central university funds.
  • In 2010 the UFS was home to 92 NRF-rated researchers. During 2010, four researchers applied for re-evaluation and of these, two improved their rating, while a further five received a first-time rating.
  • The Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences continue to be the most prolific producer of publications in accredited journals, while the Faculty of Education has shown a 54% increase in its publication output.
  • Staff members in the Physics department at the UFS Qwaqwa Campus published 22 papers in international peer-reviewed journals during 2010.
  • Also at the Qwaqwa Campus: Ms Khethiwe Mtshali,a postgraduate student in the parasitology research unit of the Department of Zoology and Entomology, received a best Honours presenter award at the 1st Annual Research symposium of the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa.

 

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