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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

‘Global financial crisis is far from over’
2012-09-09

At the lecture were, from the left: Dr Arno van Niekerk (Department of Economy), Dr Francois Strydom (Centre for Teaching and Learning), Dr Mallory du Plooy (UFS101), Ms Gill Marcus, Governor of the Reserve Bank, and Lauren Hing and Louise Strydom of the UFS101 office.
Photo: Leatitia Pienaar.
6 September 2012

The global financial crisis the world has been experiencing since 2008 is far from over. In fact, Gill Marcus, Governor of the South African Reserve Bank, expects it to last for the next five years. “It is the longest financial crisis in history,” she said.

Ms Marcus lectured in the new UFS101 course of the university. The course was implemented at the beginning of the year and is aimed at broadening the world for new first-year students. About 2 000 students are taking the course.

Ms Marcus brought globalisation home and explained how activities in the international area impact on the lives of South Africans. She said South Africa was not excluded from the effect of global crises. Ms Marcus also said that South Africa was one of only a few countries in the world not experiencing a banking crisis due to strict controls in place, but more could be done.

“The big question is how to make sure that the South African banking system stays sound,” she said.

On a question about the debt of South Africans, she said it was important for South Africans to live within their means. “If we want to afford our new development, we need a savings percentage of 25 percent.” South Africa needs foreign capital investment to supplement the low local savings.

“It is difficult to resist all aspects of globalisation. Some can be to our advantage, but the others pose tremendous challenges.”

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