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Mathematics and Zombies

Mathematics is applied in many unusual areas. Perhaps the oddest application is the recent matnematical models constructed by Robert J. Smith, a mathematician at the University of Ottawa.

Based on his model, Smith believes that only frequent coordinated attacks against the living dead (i.e. zombies) can save the human race. I kid you not!

His "zombie apocalypse equation" is (bN)(S/N)Z = bSZ, where N = total population, S = number of people susceptible to zombie attacks, Z = number of zombies, and b = the likelihood of transmission.

By exploring this equation, Smith concluded that "people would quickly become zombies....It also demonstrates that the living dead would efficiently take over the world as there is no possibility of 'stable equilibrium' where zombies and humans could peacefully co-exist or overcome the zombie infection."

Now, I must add that Smith's work is actually directed at modeling the spread of disease in the modern world. The model uses "impulsive differential equations" to demonstrate how sudden shocks (e.g. new invasive virus) affect systems. In fact, his zombie model has helped develop a working model for a real disease - human papillomavirus (HPV).

Source: "How MATHS could save you from Zombies," Dailymail.co.uk, July 31, 2013