SA professor Abdon Atangana now ranked number one mathematician in the world

Prof Abdon Atangana, a professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of the Free State (UFS). Photo: UFS

A professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of the Free State (UFS) in South Africa is now the number one mathematician in the world. Prof Abdon Atangana from the UFS’s Institute for Groundwater is ranked number one in applied mathematics, mathematical physics, mathematics, and statistics in the world, and number 260 in all of science, technology, and engineering in the Stanford University World’s Top 2% Scientists list.

For the second time, Atangana is the highest-ranked scientist from the institution included in Stanford University’s annual ranking of the top 2% of scientists in the world. Stanford University creates the list of the top 2% of world-class researchers based on citations over their full careers, highlighting over 100,000 researchers who make up the top 2%.

“The ranking provides us with the impact of our outputs, and it shows that Africans can contribute to the development of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics while still in Africa,” Atangana said, according to UFS. “This also shows that Africans in Africa can have impact on the world. My motivation is to tell the next generation that Africans do not always need to graduate from the top universities of the global North to make a global impact.  

“We must work hard to make our African universities reach the same level of those from the global North, such that a student from the global North will wish to enroll in our universities. The development of our continent does not rest on sport, music, and so forth alone, but on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Having the best scientists, mathematicians, and engineers in the world in Africa should be the strive of all Africans.” 

Three of the UFS’s SARChI Research Chairs also made the list — Prof Hendrik Swart, Chair: Solid-state Luminescent and Advanced Materials, Prof Melanie Walker, Chair: Higher Education and Human Development, and Prof Maryke Labuschagne, Chair: Disease Resistance and Quality in Field Crops.

39-year-old Atangana is originally from Cameroon but Bloemfontein has been his home for 14 years. In 2022, Face2Face Africa reported that he had been ranked as the second-best mathematician in the world and No. 188 in all of science, technology, and engineering in Stanford University’s Top 2% Scientists in the World.

The UFS said at the time that Atangana being placed 188th in the world in all of science, technology, and engineering is very instrumental as it shows that the influence of his study can be compared to other fields that are still ranked among the top 200 in the world and is not limited to mathematicians. 

“I am the author of various crucial mathematical ideas that are applied and pure mathematics. For instance, I created the Atangana-Baleanu fractional derivatives and integrals, which constitute a novel calculus and are based on the general Mittag-Leffler kernels. Since its inception in 2016, this fractional calculus has been employed in various fields of science, technology, and engineering,” the professor said at the time.

“I am the creator of various concepts in epidemiological modelling, numerical analysis, and integral transformations. I am also the pioneer of the fractal-fractional calculus, which is employed in all domains of applied sciences. I developed the most recent ideas known as piecewise differentiation and integration.”

In 2020, Atangana was recognized as one of 10 South African scientists in the top 1% of scientists on the global Clarivate Web of Science list. Atangana is also famous for developing a new fractional operator used to model real-world problems arising in the fields of engineering, science and technology.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: May 22, 2024


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