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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 athlete on her way to Athletics World Championships in France
2013-06-18

Louzanne Coetzee (left) and her guide, Rouxné Vermaak, in action during a 10km road race a few months ago in Bloemfontein.
Photo: Johan Roux
18 June 2013

A student from the University of the Free State (UFS) is part of a team of 32 athletes to represent South Africa at the International Paralympic Committee’s (IPC) Athletics World Championships in France later this year.

Louzanne Coetzee, a second-year BA Corporate and Marketing Communication student, was selected to represent the national team in the 800-metre race at the championships that will be held in the city of Lyon from 19 to 28 July 2013. The visually-impaired student will participate in the T11 sport class for runners that make use of a guide and have to wear a blindfold during the race. This will be Louzanne’s first international competition. Approximately 1 300 athletes from 90 countries are expected to participate in the championships.

Louzanne boasts a best time of 2 minutes and 53.8 seconds in the 800 metre, a time she reached earlier this year at the Nedbank National Championships for the Physically Disabled in Pretoria. At this meeting she won three gold medals in the 800, 1 500 and 5 000 metres.

Louzanne says she will work hard to bring back medals. "I’m not all that experienced, but I will give my best and trust in the Lord. I will work hard to do something for my country."

She and the rest of the 31 athletes will be accompanied by four coaches, a team manager and an assistant manager.

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