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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

Inaugural lecture celebrates Qwaqwa founder, Morena Mopeli Mokhachane
2014-09-12

 

Photo: RooistoelTV

Every historical era presents its own challenges and creates its own leaders who take up the call to address those challenges.

This was expressed by Dr Nyefolo Malete who presented the Inaugural Memorial Lecture on 6 September 2014 at the Qwaqwa Campus. The lecture honoured the live of the Qwaqwa founder, Morena Paulus Mopeli Mokhachane.

Dr Malete said that Morena Mopeli played his part in history as a skilled negotiator, formidable team player and a liberator who held good human relations in high regard.

“Morena Mopeli lived at the time when Southern Africa was experiencing a moment of frustration and despair. It was faced with conflicts, battles, starvation and turmoil in preparation for a transformation that was to serve as the mirror of the political and social stage which existed until 1994,” Dr Malete said.

“He was a hopeful leader and thinker who played a critical role in assisting his brother Moshoeshoe to build and protect Lesotho where it was humanly possible. He participated in most of the negotiations with all the groups to create peace and protect the borders of Lesotho. He was a good, intelligent and formidable diplomat who was aware of his role as a leader. He was aware that he could influence the future through dialogue.”

Dr Malete said that Africa needs leaders like Mopeli. Leaders who can expand the capacity to remain open to possibilities and “envision a positive future in the face of uncertainty and to creatively construct pathways that can be embraced by all people who collectively seek to turn possibilities into reality.”

In attendance at the lecture were dignitaries from the Lesotho Royal House, the Free State Provincial Government and the Free State House of Traditional Leaders. 

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