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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

A woman with a vision and dreams

Louzanne Coetzee recently made Kovsie -history when she became the first blind woman to be elected to the SRC in the portfolio for Student Accessibility and Support. She has not even considered standing for the SRC before, though.

“I wanted to create awareness of disabled students on campus,” Louzanne says. “By running for SRC and this specific portfolio, I thought it would be a great way to do so.” She has a lot of ideas on how to make the portfolio function better and to link the accessibility and support braches of the portfolio.

Louzanne has a passion for leadership. “I think this is a great platform for me to live out my values.” She describes herself as dynamic, but admits that she often pushes herself very hard to achieve the goals she has set out for herself. “I’m also very competitive. But I believe I can make it work to my advantage by setting goals regarding my leadership position on campus to make them happen.”

Having won several gold medals at athletic track events, Louzanne also aims to be selected for the South African 2016 Paralympics team.

And the one dream after another coming true for her, arises from a firm belief in the right attitude.

“I believe that with one’s attitude one can achieve anything. My personal motto has always been ‘mind management is life management’. One of the greatest lessons I have ever learned is that everything is determined by your attitude. The latter determines how you live your life and handle situations.”

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