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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

Kovsies deliver eight Brightest Young Minds

Front, from the left: Michael van Niekerk, Thabiso Letselebe and William Clayton; Back, from the left: Gopolang Kgaile, Thokozane Mahlanga and Mpho Sefo; Lisa Coetzee and Lehlohonolo Mofokeng were not present during the taking of the photograph.

Eight Kovsies have been selected as part of 100 delegates for the 2014 Brightest Young Minds (BYM) summit.

Thabiso Letselebe (Chief Delegate of the UFS BYM), Michael van Niekerk, William Clayton, Gopolang Kgaile, Thokozane Mahlanga, Mpho Sefo, Lisa Coetzee and Lehlohonolo Mofokeng will attend the BYM summit from 29 August to 2 September 2014 in Johannesburg.
BYM is a youth-driven non-profit organisation that identifies South Africa’s most passionate young people. The organisation equips these young leaders with the skills and networks needed to create positive change.

Each year, 100 participants are invited to a five-day summit, based on criteria of innovation, leadership, civic responsibility and academic accomplishment. Delegates discuss challenges facing the nation with respected leaders and then design start-up like solutions to these challenges.

Post-summit alumni have access to resources for success and BYM continues to encourage social entrepreneurship. BYM has demonstrated success in mobilising young people for nearly fifteen years.

BYM has been the launch pad for several successful business and social endeavours. Some of the ideas developed by BYM alumni include the AIDS Industry Management Standard, Taxi Smart Card System, MiniSass Water Monitoring System, Investec Young Women in Finance conference, Tertiary School in Business Administration, Twenty30 and Women in Engineering.

BYM attracts a diverse group of participants in terms of academic, racial, geographic and socio-economic backgrounds. In a society marred by divides, BYM is proving the power of diversity. The organisation’s participants would not be as successful in moving the nation forward if it were not for the diversity of their experience.

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