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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 welcomes two new deans in the faculties of Theology and Law
2014-08-04

 

The university council has approved the appointment of two deans: Prof Fanie Snyman, at the Faculty of Theology and Prof Caroline Nicholson, at the Faculty of Law.

Both professors offer the university a wealth of knowledge and experience in research and teaching.

Prof Fanie Snyman

Prof Snyman joined the university in 1984 as a senior lecturer in the Department Old Testament. His career followed a steadfast ascent which led him to attaining the title of professor and head of department the following year. On 1 July 2013, Prof Snyman took on the additional role of acting dean of the faculty.

As dean, he set out a clear vision of academic leadership with four primary focus areas: research, teaching and learning, internationalisation and regional engagement.

He is the author of eight books and contributed to seven internationally- and twelve nationally-published books. He has published nine articles in international journals and about 60 more in accredited journals.

Prof Snyman proposes to bring staff members together to extensively rethink and reposition the faculty in terms of identity, transformation and the way forward. “We live in a complex world, characterised by uncertainty and in constant change. This calls for complex but also innovative solutions,” he says.

Prof Caroline Nicholson

Prof Caroline Nicholson was born in Scotland and came to South Africa as a young child. She obtained her BProc and LLB degrees at the University of the Witwatersrand and completed her articles of clerkship at Chernin’s in Hyde Park Corner, Johannesburg. Prof Nicholson was admitted as both an attorney and notary public of the then Supreme Court of South Africa in 1986.

In 1986 she joined the University of South Africa (UNISA ) as a lecturer and remained there until 1999. During this time she completed an LLM in Banking Law and an LLD in Comparative Conflict of Laws – focusing on international parental child abduction. During the same year she moved to the Faculty of Law at the University of Pretoria where she worked for the last fifteen years. In 2003 she completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and has an abiding interest in ADR, especially within the Family Law context.

Prof Nicholson has produced numerous articles and research presentations on a variety of legal subjects. Her primary areas of interest are, however, legal education and child law. She is known both nationally and internationally for her research contributions.

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