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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

Second OSM concert inspires Heidedal youth
2016-12-08

Description: OSM Heidedal concert Tags: OSM Heidedal concert 

Sehle Mosole, left, and Jonandrea Pofadder back,
with the children from the ROC Foundation during the
second OSM community outreach in Heidedal, Bloemfontein.
Photo: Supplied

“The project is special because it is an event in the community, by the community.” This is what Gerda Pretorius, lecturer in the Odeion School of Music (OSM) at the University of the Fee State, said about the second music concert hosted by the OSM in Heidedal, Bloemfontein.

The concert, in collaboration with the Reach Our Community (ROC) Foundation on 26 November 2016, was a follow-up on the concept that was started last year. As part of the outcomes of the MUSE3706 module, the third-year Music Education students engage in a project in a specific environment.  For this project the MUSE team, led by Pretorius and Anchen Froneman, collaborated with the ROC Foundation in Heidedal. Two third-year students in the OSM, Sehle Mosole and Jonandrea Pofadder, facilitated the event in 2016.

Long relationship between ROC and UFS

Since 2008, the UFS has successfully partnered with ROC through service-learning and community-engagement projects in which students from across all seven faculties participate. The foundation strives to address the challenges resulting from factors such as poverty, unemployment, HIV/Aids, single parenting, lack of guardianship, and physical and sexual abuse. In the Afterschool Care programme, the children engage in educational, cultural, and recreational activities.

Children who form part of the foundation’s Afterschool Care programme, showed their impressive music skills to their parents and guardians in attendance.

Spontaneous participation by community

“I was deeply touched by the spontaneous participation and appreciation of the community for art-related – in particular music and dance – events,” said Pretorius. A highlight was the community’s involvement in the event and the value it adds to the students’ organising skills.

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