SimFlu: Build Your Own Epidemic
Julia Gog, University of Cambridge
First videoconference: 7 June 2007, 13.15
Second videoconference: 13 July 2007, 13.15
This conference, which will consist of two linked videoconferences and project work to be done between them, is aimed at 13-15 year-old secondary students.
More information about our conferences
Epidemics are among the most dramatic events that mankind can experience. In historical times, doctors have struggled to explain why they start and end. These days, we understand that diseases like influenza are caused by small infectious particles called viruses which spread from person to person. Can we now say when an epidemic can start and explain why they end?
Mathematicians working on biological problems like these often use computer simulations to explore what might be going on in reality. These “models” are like sim computer games where you can change how things are set up just to see what would happen.
In this conference, you will have the opportunity to investigate a simple simulation exercise and a spreadsheet to model your own epidemic, and to see what difference various initial conditions make to what happens. You will also be asked to criticise the models, and to suggest how they might be improved. You can see the content of the first VC and the project materials provided in a previous presentation of this conference at SimFlu - Oct/Nov 2006, although you should be aware that we will revise all aspects of the conference before re-presenting it in June/July 2007.