How One Math Professor Looks at the 1918 Pandemic
The Faires Faculty Forum Podcast Project
Published: Monday, September 10, 2012
Updated: Monday, September 10, 2012 13:09
NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. - Mathematics professor Dr. Carolyn Cuff wants to challenge her students while also creating innovative projects for capstone that will embrace the liberal arts mission. Her Faires Faculty Forum presentation on Sept. 5 in the Mueller Theater of the McKelvey Campus Center explored how she seizes on moments to bring mathematics to biology, history and other domains. Her presentation "A SAGE Approach to Modeling the 1918 Pandemic" offers insight into her research and exploration into differential equations and computer algebra systems.
At least 27 percent of the world was infected by the Spanish flu of 1918-1920. Mathematical models help explain the rapid spread, why the epidemic was over before all were infected, and the reason some quarantines were unsuccessful in limiting the spread. Based on her recent sabbatical exploration, Cuff will explain how she created and examined the basic model. Details and limitations of these mathematical models will also be explained.
Listen to the presentation podcast here or download it.
Cuff, a 1978 Westminster graduate who joined the faculty in 1989, earned a master's and Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University. You can click here to learn more about Westminster's Mathematics & Computer Science Department.
The Faculty Forum was established in 1990 by Dr. Barbara Faires, Westminster professor of mathematics emerita, during her term as dean of the college and vice president for academic affairs. It is a unique venue that celebrates faculty teaching, research and passion for scholarship while also serving as platform for peer review and reflection.
Faculty members from all disciplines volunteer to present lectures on their current research, artistic productions, and scholarship of teaching and learning. Each forum presents new ideas with innovative lecture techniques.