Oxford Mathematician explains SIR disease model for COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

The SIR model is one of the simplest disease models we have to explain the spread of a virus through a population. I first explain where the model comes from, including the assumptions that are made and how the equations are derived, before going on to use the results of the model to answer three important questions:

  1. Will the disease spread?
  2. What is the maximum number of people that will have the disease at one time?
  3. How many people will catch the disease in total?

The answers to these questions are discussed in the context of the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) outbreak. The model tells us that to reduce the impact of the disease we need to lower the ‘contact ratio’ as much as possible – which is exactly what the current social distancing measures are designed to do.

Produced by Dr Tom Crawford at the University of Oxford.

Spike Waves, Rogue Waves and Hokusai’s Great Wave off Kanagawa

Rogue Waves occur when a larger wave appears in a group of smaller waves. In some circumstances these can lead to an exaggerated ‘Spike Wave’, or a crashing wave resembling the Great Wave off Kanagawa by Hokusai. The Draupner wave is another example of a freak wave which occurred in the North Sea in 1995, reaching a height of almost 20m. Mark McAllister at the University of Oxford, sought to recreate the Draupner wave in the FloWave laboratory in Edinburgh to study how such waves form…

Produced by Tom Crawford. Thanks to the UK Fluids Network and the Journal of Fluid Mechanics for supporting this project.

Smelling Underwater with the Star-Nosed Mole

Star-nosed moles are able to smell underwater by quickly exhaling and re-inhaling air bubbles as they search for prey. The bubbles are trapped close to the moles nostrils by a ring of tiny pink tentacles, which gives rise to the name ‘star-nosed’. The tentacles are the most sensitive known touch organ of any mammal. Research by Alexander Lee at Georgia Institute of Technology.

This video is part of a collaboration between FYFD and the Journal of Fluid Mechanics featuring a series of interviews with researchers from the APS DFD 2017 conference.

Sponsored by FYFD, the Journal of Fluid Mechanics, and the UK Fluids Network. Produced by Tom Crawford and Nicole Sharp with assistance from A.J. Fillo.

How do Termite Mounds stay cool in the Desert?

Termites live underground in termite mounds to protect themselves from the heat of the desert, but how do they keep their mounds cool? The answer lies in some neat fluid dynamics which is now used to design naturally ventilated buildings across the world. Research from Shantanu Bailoor at Johns Hopkins University.

This video is part of a collaboration between FYFD and the Journal of Fluid Mechanics featuring a series of interviews with researchers from the APS DFD 2017 conference.

\Sponsored by FYFD, the Journal of Fluid Mechanics, and the UK Fluids Network. Produced by Tom Crawford and Nicole Sharp with assistance from A.J. Fillo.

Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting

Highlights from my trip to the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting featuring an inspiring keynote speech from 2011 Physics Nobel Brian P. Schmidt (transcript below).

Nobel Prize winners featured in the video:

2011 Physics – Brian P. Schmidt

2014 Chemistry – William E. Moerner

2017 Chemistry – Joachim Frank

2001 Physics – Carl E. Weiman

2010 Physics – Sir Konstantin Novoselov

2018 Physics – Gerard Mourou

2009 Chemistry – Ada E. Yomath

“As I finish my talk, I ask each of you to embrace your privileged role as one of the world’s most educated citizens. Make sure your work, as much as it is possible, is available for fellow scientists to amplify. Always make sure you are working to push the boundaries of knowledge, rather than defending your view of the world. Bring the world with you, know your own biases, be inclusive, show patience and show respect to everyone around you. From young children you might meet whilst visiting a kindergarten, to potentially meeting the leader of your country. If we all do this, we can make a difference. And in 2019, I’m sorry to say we must make a difference, the world is waiting for us. Thank you very much.”

With thanks to the Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting for their support. Produced by Dr Tom Crawford, University of Oxford.

Picture/Credit: Julia Nimke/Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings

How do Stinging Nettles Inject Poison?

The leaves of stinging nettles are covered in ‘pipette-like’ stingers which penetrate the skin on contact and deposit a small amount of poison. The ‘pipette-like’ design means that almost all of the poison contained in the stinger can be injected at once if sufficient force is applied to bend the stinger to an angle of 90 degrees. This is demonstrated in laboratory experiments conducted by Kaare Jensen at the Technical University of Denmark.

This video is part of a collaboration between FYFD and the Journal of Fluid Mechanics featuring a series of interviews with researchers from the APS DFD 2017 conference.

Sponsored by FYFD, the Journal of Fluid Mechanics, and the UK Fluids Network. Produced by Tom Crawford and Nicole Sharp with assistance from A.J. Fillo.

Tracking Beetles using the Sound of their Wings

The Cocunut Rhinoceros Beetle is an invasive species that if left alone would decimate citrus crops across California. To prevent this from happening, John Allen and his team at the University of Hawai’i have been working to hunt the insects down before they are able to reach the West Coast of the USA. By identifying the frequency of the beetles wing beat, they are able to track them down by listening out for the unique flapping sound of their wings and alert pest control to their whereabouts.

This video is part of a collaboration between FYFD and the Journal of Fluid Mechanics featuring a series of interviews with researchers from the APS DFD 2017 conference.

Sponsored by FYFD, the Journal of Fluid Mechanics, and the UK Fluids Network. Produced by Tom Crawford and Nicole Sharp with assistance from A.J. Fillo.

How does Sea Ice affect Climate Change?

There is no doubt that sea ice in the polar regions is melting, but what is the exact role that this plays in the global climate system? To understand climate change we need to understand mixing in the ocean, which is exactly what Andrew Wells at the University of Oxford comes is trying to do by studying a model for sea ice growth in the Arctic.

This video is part of a collaboration between FYFD and the Journal of Fluid Mechanics featuring a series of interviews with researchers from the APS DFD 2017 conference.

Sponsored by FYFD, the Journal of Fluid Mechanics, and the UK Fluids Network. Produced by Tom Crawford and Nicole Sharp with assistance from A.J. Fillo.

Fire and Ice: Burning Oil in the Polar Regions

One of the clean-up methods used following an oil spill is to burn the fuel on the surface of the ocean. This generally works well, except in polar regions where the heat from the fire rapidly accelerates the melting of ice. Hamed Farahani at Worcester Polytechnic Institute is studying this phenomenon using laboratory experiments with the goal of improving the efficiency of combustion as a control for ocean pollution.

This video is part of a collaboration between FYFD and the Journal of Fluid Mechanics featuring a series of interviews with researchers from the APS DFD 2017 conference.

Sponsored by FYFD, the Journal of Fluid Mechanics, and the UK Fluids Network. Produced by Tom Crawford and Nicole Sharp with assistance from A.J. Fillo.

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