Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Previous Archive
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

UN-recognised scholar awarded the prestigious TRI Annual PhD Award
2015-11-09

Dr Anneli Botha, winner of TRI Award for Best Doctoral Thesis.
Photo: Supplied

Two years after enrolling as a PhD candidate in the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Department of Political Studies and Governance, Dr Anneli Botha was awarded the annual Terrorism Research Initiative (TRI) Award for the 'Best Doctoral Thesis on Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism' (2014).

The TRI PhD award is a prestigious international honour, while terrorism as a scholarly venture remains a concentrated field. Dr Botha, one of the few women in this niche field, has proved to be an excellent asset. Her winning of the prestigious award was announced in its October 2015 issue of Perspectives on Terrorism (PT), a globally-circulated online journal, co-published by the European-based Terrorism Research Initiative and the America-based Center for Terrorism and Security Studies.

Based on the merit and relevance of her outstanding research, the United Nations Development Programme has appointed Dr Botha as a Consultant on Radicalisation. In addition, her PhD is to be published as a book in the United States of America early in 2016. She was appointed as a Research Associate at the University of the Free State at the beginning of this year.

An award-winning search for answers

Her thesis, titled “Radicalisation to Terrorism in Kenya and Uganda: a Political Socialisation Perspective”, tackled East African militancy, from an individualised perspective. Researchers in the past have neglected assessing details of the rebels’ childhoods. Dr Botha’s interviewed about 285 militants and their families. These individuals declared themselves openly as members of al-Shabaab and the Mombasa Republican Council (MRC) in Kenya, and the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in Uganda, at the time of the interviews.

Her doctoral dissertation provides significant information about factors that should be considered in the quest to counter and prevent terrorism. Her research shows conclusively that political socialisation begins with the family, and expands through peers, school, media, and earlier political experiences, culminating in the terrorist group.

Outstanding piece of scholarship

Dr Alex Schmid
, who is the editor of PT, TRI Award Jury chairman, and one of the most respected experts of terrorism, described Dr Botha’s research as an “outstanding piece of scholarship.”

Dr Botha attributed her success to her supervisors - Professors Theo Neethling and Hussein Solomon - as well as to the people in Kenya and Uganda.

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.

Accept