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Understanding the mathematics of a pandemic

Dr Yuliya Kyrychko

A University of Sussex academic will explain the mathematics behind the Government’s Coronavirus response in a special online public lecture.

Dr Yuliya Kyrychko, from the University of Sussex’s School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, will use simple models in the online talk to explain the process of mathematical modelling and how it has been used to help predict the development and potential outcomes of recent diseases, such as SARS, Ebola and now COVID-19.

The talk is for all ages and mathematical abilities and aims to explain some of the key concepts that have come into everyday use during the Coronavirus lockdown including flattening the curve, time to peak, pandemic and exponential growth.

Epidemics: Untangling the Mysteries of Mathematical Modelling will be held this Thursday (30 April) from 7pm, with a live Q&A on Zoom to follow at 7.30pm.

The event is part of the regular public lecture series Sussex Universe, run by the University’s School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences. Talks are usually held on the University campus but have moved online in response to Coronavirus restrictions.

Dr Kyrychko said: “The talk is intended to explain in a simple and engaging way some mathematical concepts of epidemic modelling but does not require any prior specialised knowledge.

“All concepts discussed in the talk are suitable for all ages and any level of mathematical knowledge, and should be interesting for anyone who follows recent news etc and is wondering about where the exponential growth in the number of cases comes from, how we know that there will be a peak, or why we need some magic R_0 to be below 1 (as mentioned by Boris Johnson in his speech on Monday).

“I’ll also show the main techniques used for building a mathematical model for the spread of any disease, and how ‘washing your hands and staying at home’ comes about in terms of mathematics from the model itself.”

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By: Neil Vowles
Last updated: Friday, 15 May 2020

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