Monday, 16 May 2011


One of my favourite pieces of mathematics that I have ever done has been about zombies. Now, as a mathematical biologist, I often wonder whether zombies come under my remit. Are the biological? They aren't really alive. But anyway, sit back and let me recount the story.

In 2009 P. Munz, I. Hudea, J. Imad and R.J. Smith? wrote a paper called "When zombies attack!: Mathematical modeeling of an outbreak of zombie infection". His conclusions were bleak as it seems that if the dead should rise, there will be no room for the living. As you might expect this was a huge hit with the science/media interface. 

Fast forward to the end of 2010 and Robert Smith? (yes, the question mark is actually part of his name) decided that the original paper was such a success that he'd like to generate a whole book about zombie mathematics. He sent out an email call to his mathematical colleagues, asking if any of them were interested in writing a chapter for a layman's biological mathematics book, using zombies as the hook to interest the general reader. Well, what could I do? In my life I care about three things; mathematics, teaching people about mathematics and zombies - in that order. So I jumped at the chance.

The book is scheduled to be completed April 2012, but here are some of the pictures contained in my article. I created the man with the gun but I have to thank Martin Berube for the zombies.

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