UFS professor’s mathematical operators set off an explosion of new research

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Prof. Abdon Atangana, Academic Head: Institute for Groundwater Studies, and Prof. Dumitru Baleanu, from Çankaya University, in Ankara, Turkey, developed differential operators that could be used to model real-world problems arising in many fields of science, mathematics, technology and engineering.

The mathematical operators developed by a professor from the University of the Free State (UFS) and a colleague from Çankaya University, Ankara in Turkey, which could be used to model real-world problems arising in many fields of science, mathematics, technology and engineering, are growing at a remarkable rate in these fields and have inspired an explosion of new research in fractional calculus.

According to a statement by the UFS, the Academic Head: Institute for Groundwater Studies at the UFS, Prof.Abdon Atangana, Prof. Dumitru Baleanu from Çankaya University developed their differential operators in 2016 when existing operators failed to accurately depict some physical problems.

Prof. Atangana said it took him one week of continuous thinking to develop a new fractional operator that could be used to model real-world problems arising in many fields of science, technology and engineering.

Prof. Atangana said it is a joy to see that the name of an African mathematician attached to operators used in many fields of science, technology and engineering.  He said it is a very big joy, as one day an African child will say ‘I am proud to be African’, as these theories were developed by a black African youngster. A big joy to see for the first time ever, a black mathematician added in the list of highly cited mathematicians. “A big joy to know that I became the world’s youngest highly-cited mathematician, although this was not celebrated either by my work country or my university.”

“A big joy to see that only after four years of extremely hard work in a foreign land, I became editor of more than 20 top-tier journals of applied mathematics and mathematics; in some, I am the first African to be selected as editor. For me, it is a first step in the decolonisation of science; an indication that Africans can contribute and influence the world of mathematics,” said Prof. Atangana.

According to a recently published article in the Alexandria Engineering Journal, titled A bibliometric analysis of Atangana-Baleanu operators in fractional calculus, the Atangana-Baleanu operators have been cited in 351 published and peer-reviewed research papers since the first paper was published in 2016. The number of papers published each year are growing exponentially at a very high rate of 80,25%, showing a healthy and thriving field of research. In 2019, 156 papers were published on the topic and a further 95 papers have been published in the first three months of 2020.

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