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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

UFS Cardiovascular Research Centre a South African solution to continental crisis
2015-11-30

From left are: Dr Robert Kleinloog, president of the Society of Cardiothoracic Surgeons of South Africa, Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the University of the Free State (UFS), Prof Robert Frater after which the Robert W M Frater Cardiovascular Research Centre was named and Prof Francis Smit, head of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the UFS, at the launch of the new centre.
Photo: Johan Roux

“You don’t have to be in New York or any big city in the world to establish a cardiovascular centre that delivers work of world standards. I’ve learned that extraordinary things are achieved by ordinary people who apply themselves accordingly. This research centre is a South African solution to a continental challenge”.

These were the words of Prof Robert Frater at the opening of the new Robert W M Frater Cardiovascular Research Centre in the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at the University of the Free State (UFS) School of Medicine.

The centre, one of only two of the kind in the country, will focus on bioengineering and cardiovascular research. It was opened on Wednesday 18 November 2015 in the Francois Retief Building on the Bloemfontein campus.

The centre is named after Prof Robert W.M Frater in recognition of his vast contribution to the UFS. He is internationally recognised for his outstanding academic, clinical, and scientific contributions to cardiac surgery. Prof Frater has also been actively involved in research activities of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery for the last 10 years. In 2011, he received an honorary doctorate from the UFS.

Under the leadership of Prof Francis Smit, head of Cardiothoracic Surgery, the department has been described as a dynamic unit at the forefront of meeting the different changes in Southern Africa while maintaining an excellent clinical and academic track record.

At the opening, Prof Jonathan Jansen, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of the UFS, thanked Prof Frater for his presence at, involvement in, and support of the UFS. “I am looking forward to working in collaboration with the department to make this university a research centre of excellence in the continent”, he said.

The centre has existing endeavours already in operation, including Population projects, Clinical studies, and Clinical pathology, to name three. In collaboration with the Central University of Technology, the University of Stellenbosch, and Charite University of Berlin, among numerous others, the centre will be an appropriate help to an African challenge.

Its introduction promises advanced research outcomes with the potential to make the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery a world-class competitor.

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