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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

Students selected for prestigious Stanford Sophomore College


From the left are: Elri Marais, Palesa Mafisa, Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS, Goodwill Shelile and Foster Lubbe. Gabriela Schroder and Saeed Abdullah were absent when the photo was taken.
Photo: Hannes Pieterse
4 April 2012

As part of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) comprehensive suite of student leadership development programmes, a strategic partnership with Stanford University, USA has been forged.

Starting in 2012, selected cohorts of high-potential second-year students will annually participate in the Stanford Sophomore College Programme. The UFS and Oxford University in the UK are the only non-Stanford participants in this strategic and unique opportunity.

Following a highly competitive selection process based on both written and oral assessment, managed by the UFS Centre for Teaching and Learning and the Office of the Vice-Chancellor, the first group of six students was recently selected and will visit Stanford University from 1 – 14 September 2012.

The exclusive and high profile Sophomore College has been offered at the prestigious Stanford University on the West Coast of the US for a number of years. It takes the form of a residential summer programme for second-year students who participate and engage in intense academic exploration with peers and professors on a variety of innovative, multidisciplinary topics.

Depending on the course selected, students participate in a variety of intellectual and academic programmes, do research, work in labs, engage in readings of texts and develop presentation skills.

Some courses are held in part or entirely off campus. Advisory sessions to assist students in their preparation, academic orientation and intellectual development will be conducted prior to their departure to add value to the experience at Stanford.

The students will benefit from the programme in many ways, among others the intense academic exploration of topics with an eminent international scholar, immersion in and exploration of a field of interest, the opportunity to hone critical habits of mind, train to become a more engaged and entrepreneurial learners and collaborate and form relationships with friends and peers.

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