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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

First CAS Winter School brings researchers together
2016-08-01

Description: CAS Winter School  Tags: CAS Winter School

International and University of the Free State delegates
during the three day Centre for Africa Studies
winter school.
Photo: Supplied

The first biennial doctoral Winter School by the Centre for Africa Studies at the University of the Free State (UFS) brought together UFS PhD researchers as well as current and new Africa Studies students specialising in the Conflict and Peace subfield.

According to Prof Heidi Hudson, Director of the Centre for Africa Studies, this was the aim of the Winter School, hosted in collaboration with the John and Elnora Ferguson Centre for African Studies (JEFCAS) in the Department of Peace Studies at the University of Bradford  in the United Kingdom. The Winter School took place from 18-22 July 2016 on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus.

Doctoral students gain deeper insight during school

Prof Hudson said the Winter School was presented to share insights, and develop further understanding of the complex terrain of interdisciplinary studies.
“The School also provided an opportunity for the Centre’s newly-recruited doctoral students specialising in peace and conflict to gain deeper insight into Peace Studies methodologies,” said Prof Hudson.

Why male ex-combatants resort to violent behaviour?

To conclude the Winter School, Prof Donna Pankhurst from the University of Bradford presented a seminar. Her research paper, What is wrong with men? Revisiting violence against women in conflict and peacebuilding, tries to explain why men resort to violent behaviour after the end of combat duty. Prof Pankhurst described her research title as “a wacky title to grab people’s attention”. “This paper is part of a larger study which is exploring the extent to which post-traumatic stress disorder may impact on male ex-combatants' tendency to commit violence against women,” said Prof Pankhurst.

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