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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

Center for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS) produces 22 graduates
2016-04-26

Description: Lutho Xintolo and mom Tags: Lutho Xintolo and mom

Lutho Xintolo (right) is one of the Centre for Universal Access and Disability Support 2016 graduates. She is currently pursuing her Honours in Psychology.
Photo: Supplied

Once again, the University of the Free State (UFS) hosted a successful series of graduations from 12-15 April 2016 where 3681 students were conferred qualifications at the Bloemfontein Campus. Among those graduating were 22 students who are affiliated with the university’s Center for Universal Access and Disability Support (CUADS).

Some of these students included Zingisa Ngwenya, who is currently busy with her second degree; Grant Lombaard, Zanele Morerwa, and Lutho Xintolo, all of whom are pursuing their Honours degrees. Louzanne Coetzee, a visually-impaired international champion athlete, was awarded a Communication: Corporate Marketing Honours degree this autumn. “We have five athletes and a cyclist with disabilities, amongst our students who are of world-class standard,” said Martie Miranda, Head of the Center.

The Center assists students to gain access to study courses, buildings, and lecture venues, learning material such as Braille, audio, enlarged print, and E-text, computer facilities with assistive technology and software and adapted hardware, and a specialised examination and test venue for alternative test and exam procedures,” Miranda added.

Students with disabilities who enrol with CUADS receive support according to their individual needs from registration through to graduation.  “During this process we identify challenges experienced in their administrative, academic, support, student life, and physical environments, and then address these challenges,” Miranda said.

Support provided by the Center includes amanuenses and extra time during tests and exams according to the student’s specific needs, (as determined through evaluation by the Extra Time Panel), together with Student Counselling and Development, academic tutors provided by the New Academic Tutor programme in collaboration with the UFS Centre for Teaching and Learning, and Sign Language interpreters or lip-speakers as well as real-time captioning.

Students with specific learning difficulties, mobility, visual, or hearing impairments, psychological, or other chronic conditions that might have a disabling effect on them, as well as those with temporary impairments, are fully supported by the CUADS. The Center strives to ensure that students achieve their full potential throughout their journey with our university.

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