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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

Internet Broadcast Project wins at International Enterprise Video Awards
2014-08-11

Video: Internet Broadcast Project

In April this year, the ICTISE (ICT Innovation in School Education) division won the first place at the Enterprise Video Awards held in Madison, Wisconsin, USA. Their Internet Broadcast Project (IBP) was the overall winner in the Innovation category – competing against universities and other training institutions from across the world.

The IBP is a collaborative project between the ICTISE and the Free State Department of Education (FSDoE). Broadcasting from the South Campus studio in Bloemfontein, teachers use specialised web-casting technology to present lessons that reach 68 education centres. Lessons cover a range of subjects and broadcast in real time to teachers and learners from Grades 8 to 12, covering 40 Free State towns, including the most rural areas.

Head of the ICTISE Project, Sarietjie Musgrave said, “Each participating school is equipped with 24/7 uncapped internet access, an all-in-one computer (computer, data projector and sound system), a document camera and a printer – the same equipment used in the studio by the expert teachers.

“The technology provided allows learners to communicate with the expert teacher in the studio during a broadcast to the school or learner at no cost. Lessons can be downloaded on to various devices and re-used during teaching time, shared with neighbouring schools, or taken home by learners to help with homework or for revision.

“To date, the IBP catalogue contains over 2 000 video lessons and during 2013 alone, the 68 schools accessed and used these videos 69 305 times. The project has the potential to reach more than 40 000 learners and 1 765 teachers every week.”

Innovation and sustainability form the backbone of this project. Support is provided to teachers and learners in Mathematics, Maths Literacy, Physical Science, Life Science, Geography, English, Accounting, Economics and Business Studies.


The ICTISE has a dedicated technical team to support schools. During broadcasts there is a dedicated helpline and on-site technical support, even in the remotest areas.

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