THE YOUNG AFRICAN PROFESSOR MAKING WAVES IN THE MATHEMATICAL WORLD
By Ben Arthur
Professor Abdon Atangana, has been recognized as one of the top 1% of scientists on the prestigious global Clarivate Web of Science list. Atangana is a full Professor of Applied Mathematics from the University of Free State, South Africa. He is 35 years of age and originally from Cameroon. According to Clarivate, this accolade recognizes true pioneers in their field over the past decade, demonstrated by the production of multiple high-cited papers that rank in the top 1% by citations for field and year in the Web of Science. Professor Atangana is known for developing a new maths fractional operator used to model real-world problems arising in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
Speaking about the recognition Prof Atangana said, “This honour is not for me. It is for Africa. I work hard so that black African children can say Africa is leading the way in mathematics. There is nothing that we can’t do!” His work involves differential and integral operators and how they are used to model real world problems arising in areas such as passage of groundwater flow, the spread of infectious diseases, chaotic problems like weather behaviour, competition problem in biology and a common example is the type of cruise control in cars. The concept was introduced and applied by Leibniz and Newton. The history of fractional calculus goes back to more than 300 years ago when the concept was introduced and applied by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, and Isaac Newton.
Together with a colleague, Professor Dumitru Baleanu from Cankaya University, Ankara in Turkey, they developed these mathematical operators in 2016 for application to real world problems. According to Prof Atangana, it took him about a week to come out with the new fractional operator that could help resolve physical problems. Due to his initial work, he was awarded the TWAS Mohammad A. Hamdan award by The World Academy of Science (TWAS) for the advancement of science in developing countries, the very first person to win this award.
In previous speech at a conference, he said, “It is a big joy to know that after only four years of extremely hard work in a foreign land, I am now an editor of more than 20 journals of applied mathematics. I am the first African to be selected as editor. For me it is a first step in the decolonization of science, an indication that Africans can contribute and influence the world of mathematics.”
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