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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

SADoCoL receives partial reinstatement of blood sample testing by the World Anti-Doping Agency

Last week, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced the lifting of the suspension of blood sample analysis by the South African Doping Control Laboratory (SADoCoL) at the University of the Free State (UFS). Although the suspension of urine sample analysis is still under review, the UFS is appreciative of the new outcome. The initial temporary suspension of SADoCoL, announced on 3 May 2016, included the suspension of all doping-control procedures which applied to both urine and blood samples.

The main reason for the suspension involved analytical techniques relevant to urine analysis; however, the testing of blood samples was also included in the suspension. At the time of the suspension, no adverse findings were reported for the laboratory in relation to blood-sample testing for Athlete Blood Passport (ABP) assessment. 

According to the agreement with WADA, the suspension period would be utilised to implement and test new systems in order to achieve the standard presently required by WADA, as well as to perform development and improvements. SADoCoL is a specialised service laboratory of the UFS and has been in existence for more than thirty years.

Upon SADoCoL’s request to lift the suspension of only the ABP analysis, WADA agreed to allow the laboratory to apply for reaccreditation.  SADoCoL immediately applied for reaccreditation of ABP analysis on blood, so that the laboratory would be allowed to at least offer this service to the Anti-Doping community in Africa.

For this purpose, inspections were performed by the South African National Accreditation System (SANAS) and by WADA, during which all aspects of blood analysis by the laboratory were thoroughly assessed and tested.  The successful outcome of these inspections resulted in the reaccreditation of SADoCoL by WADA in order to perform ABP analysis as required by the WADA International Standard for Laboratories, with effect from 4 August 2016. 

This outcome allows the laboratory to once again perform this very essential analytical procedure.  The South African Institute for Drug-Free Sport (SAIDS) and other regular users can now continue to send blood samples to SADoCoL for ABP analysis, instead of making use of alternative laboratories.


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