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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

“We require minds such as yours”
2013-04-19

 

Gareth Cliff addressed graduates during the UFS Autumn Graduation Ceremony.
Photo: Lelanie de Wet
18 April 2013

Well-known radio personality and Idols South Africa judge, Gareth Cliff addressed graduates on the third day of the University of the Free State (UFS) Autumn Graduation Ceremony.

“It’s a good time be alive, a good time to be a South African, a good time to be a qualified South African,” Gareth said during the graduation ceremony of the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences.

He emphasised the importance of skills in science in South Africa nowadays. “The only way we can advance is through an education of our minds, through technology, through science, through maths. It’s a time in our country’s development that we require minds such as yours to propel us forward.”

Gareth also underlined the freedom of speech in South Africa, especially in the light of media freedom. “It is something I feel strongly about, something this generation takes for granted.”

Dr Khotso Mokhele, Chancellor of the university, reinforced Gareth’s message and said that graduates need to be able to take standpoint against issues.

Learners from schools in Thaba Nchu and Botshabelo also had the opportunity to attend the ceremony.

The Autumn Graduation Ceremony takes place until Friday 19 April 2013. Attached is the programme for this ceremony.

Friday 19 April 2013

09:30 Diplomas and certificates up to and including honours degrees in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences: all diplomas and degrees in the Faculty, except BCom and BComHons.
14:30 Diplomas and certificates up to and including honours degrees in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences: only BCom and BComHons.

The Qwaqwa Campus’ graduation ceremony will take place on 8 June 2013. Diplomas / certificates up to and including doctorates will be awarded at this ceremony.

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