Cape Town – A Professor from the University of the Free State (UFS) has been ranked as the second-best mathematician in the world and ranked 188th in all of science, technology, and engineering, in Stanford University’s Top 2% of Scientists in the World.
Professor Abdon Atangana, 37, originally from Cameroon, has called Bloemfontein home for the past 12 years and is a professor of applied mathematics at the Institute for Groundwater Studies at UFS.
Earlier this year, Atangana collaborated with his students and released two books.
In 2020, Atangana, a mathematician, made headlines after he was recognised as one of 10 South African scientists in 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.
In 2021, Atangana was elected as a fellow of the World Academy of Science for the advancement of science in developing countries.
According to UFS, Stanford University created the list of the top 2% of world-class researchers based on citations over their full careers.
The list was published in September and features 195 605 researchers who make up the top 2%.
“Stanford University has created a list of the top 2% of world-class researchers based on citations over their full careers. The list was published in September and features 195 605 researchers who make up the top 2%.
“They have developed a database of highly cited scientists that is freely accessible to the public and offers standardised data on citations, h-index, co-authorship adjusted hm-index, citations to publications in various authorship positions, and a composite indicator (c-score). Data for impact across a lifetime and impact in a single recent year are displayed separately,” the university said.
The university has 22 researchers who have topped this list which include: Professor Ivan Turok (Research Chair in City-Region Economies in the Department of Economics and Finance and the Centre for Development Support, ranked 21 680), Professor Jorma Hölsä (Research Fellow: Department of Physics, ranked 84 593), Professor Melanie Walker (NRF Chair in Higher Education and Human Development: Centre for Development Support, ranked 67 313), Professor Maxim Finkelstein (Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, ranked 76 745), Professor Hendrik Swart (Department of Physics, ranked 49 504), Professor Deborah Posel (Department of Sociology, 151 656), Professor Ted Kroon (Physics, 162 769), Professor David Motaung (Physics, ranked 150,223), Professor Maryke Labuschagne (Plant Breeding and SARChI chair in disease resistance and quality in field crops, 133 124), Professor Jeanet Conradie (Chemistry, ranked 89 746), and Professor Johan Grobbelaar (Plant Sciences, ranked 82 692), amongst others.
Atangana said it was always encouraging to see a researcher from a developing nation at the top of a list in a difficult scientific field like physics, chemistry, or mathematics.
“Many academics from the global South made it into this list, dispelling the myth that only researchers in the global north are capable of doing high-quality research.
“Being an African black individual and the second-ranked mathematician in the world shows that the subject of mathematics is not limited by geography or race, as David Hilbert stated.
“Mathematics is a subject that transcends all national boundaries. The No 1 in general mathematics is from Stanford. However, his real speciality is computer science,” Atangana said.
His placement at 188 in all of science, technology, and engineering is significant as it demonstrates the influence of his study can be compared to other fields 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.
“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,” Atangana added.