‘I am preparing the way for the younger generation,’ says globally-recognised Free State professor

Professor Abdon Atangana has been been elected as a TWAS fellow. Photo: supplied

Professor Abdon Atangana has been been elected as a TWAS fellow. Photo: supplied

Published Nov 12, 2021


CAPE TOWN - A professor from the University of the Free State (UFS) has been elected as a fellow for the World Academy of Science (TWAS) for the advancement of science in developing countries.

TWAS is a global science academy based in Trieste, Italy, working to advance science and engineering for sustainable prosperity in the developing world.

According to UFS, the candidates elected as TWAS Fellows are scientists whose contributions to their respective fields of science meet internationally accepted standards of excellence, and they must have distinguished themselves in efforts to promote science in developing countries.

Professor Abdon Atangana, 36, originally from Cameroon, has called Bloemfontein home for the past 12 years and is the Professor of Applied Mathematics in the Institute for Groundwater Studies at UFS.

Last year, Atangana, who is a mathematician and researcher, was one of 10 South African scientists recognised as the top 1% of scientists on the global Clarivate Web of Science list.

He is known for developing a new fractional operator used to model real-world problems arising in the fields of engineering, science and technology.

The Alexandria Engineering Journal had an article which stated that the use of the Atangana-Baleanu operators is a “diverse and flourishing discipline”.

Atangana is ranked in the list owing to his cross-field contribution, which includes mathematics and applications to real-world problems.

Speaking to IOL on his new election which comes into effect on January 1, 2022, Atangana said he was surprised at the auspicious recognition and election.

“I feel this is a step in Africa getting the support it needs. For me, just to see Africa is doing something, it may be small, but they are visible. Our [Africa] contribution to mathematics may be small but it’s increasing,” he said.

Atangana said he hopes in the next 10 to 20 years Africans are on par with the US and Europe.

“China has 30 times more journals published than African mathematicians. People will fund the Chinese but in Africa you walk alone.

“Win awards, no one cares. One day I hope to see a child that will be happy and proud to say this mathematical formula was done by an African.

“What I am doing today is preparing the way for the younger generation,” he added.