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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

Standing in solidarity against suicide
2015-09-28


Students take collective action against the plight of suicide

Many students are battling depression, and have contemplated suicide. Some have lost the battle and, in turn, their lives. Suicide is a difficult topic to discuss and, even more challenging, to face its repercussions. The Leadership for Change (F1) 2014/2015 cohort took the initiative to change this through the TooSoon campaign.

A day after International Suicide Awareness Day, on Friday 11 September 2015, students marched in solidarity from Thakaneng Bridge to the Red Square on the University of the Free State’s Bloemfontein Campus.

The TooSoon team has forged links with the student community, Student Affairs, Student Counselling and Development, as well as the Health and Wellness offices to break the silence about the topic of suicide.

Every student has the potential to live a long and purposeful life. So, when someone ends his or her life, it is always too soon: this is the message the team is communicating. Awareness-raising was kick-started in August, with information sessions held at residences across the campus and the Bridge. The campus was plastered with posters offering emergency contact details for those in need of counselling, and culminated in the silent march.

At the end of the march, those who had already lost the battle were remembered through song and poetry. Students then pledged their support by painting their fingers with yellow paint and printing them on a canvas,,symbolising their solidarity in the fight against suicide.

 

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