What is this all about?
"Emily Welkins" is a project aimed at the popularisation of science and attracting young and talented people to studying mathematics and economics. The project was started by Dr Wadim Strielkowski, a multidisciplinary scientist from Prague, and Dr Yevgeny Lisin, a mathematician and economist from Moscow ("Emily Welkins" is an acronym of both of their names).
We use examples from popular culture to demonstrate how complex mathematical models works. We study the infectious diseases using metaphoras from the folklore and legends. Our aim is to show that science is not boring at all!
You might ask: "Why are you using vampires to demonstrate different scenarious of the infectious diseases?". Why not using, for example, zombies? Or someting else?
Well, in our view, vampires are the best metaphore for the infectious diseases (such as COVID-19). Zombie infection transmits too fast and (R0>3) - most people scratched by a zombie in films and comic books almost instantly turn into a zombie. This looks more like Ebola virus. On the other hand, it takes some time to turn a human into a vampire (an incubation period). Vampires are smart and can mask themselves, it is difficult to tell them from humans (similar situation with COVID-19 when many people are carriers and can transmit the disease for two weeks without showing any symptoms).
Are vampires a good metaphor of infectious diseases?
Vampires are a good metaphor of infectious diseases. Bram Stoker was based the story of "Dracula" on so-called “vampire craze’' that occured in the 1720s and 1730s in a part of Serbia that was temporarily attached to the Habsburg monarchy after the Treaty of Passarowitz (1718). Two peasants, Petar Blagojevic and Arnaut Pavle, who died suddenly and without any obvious reason and were reported being seen after their deaths, allegedly caused several other mysterious deaths of their fellow villagers in the settlements of Kisiljevo and Medveda. The Austrian authorities were called in and the whole affair culminated in an exhumation of suspected vampires, cutting off and burning of their heads and bodies. The whole story which was most likely caused by the poor understanding of infectious diseases and knowledge of the decomposition of human body, was vividly described in official reports of that time and attracted Stoker’s attention while his research in the British Library.
How is this related to the COVID-19 pandemic?
We use the mathematical models of vampiric infection and apply different scenarios (based on various pop culture sources such as books, comics, TV series, and films) that simulate the development of infectious diseases with and without measures aimed at slowing and eradicating the pandemic. Our research might be used for understanding how the pandemic spreads and what measures can be taken to slow it and even to stop it. We use popular culture examples for explaining the pandemic dynamics and its impact on the human population.
How can I support this research?
You can support out research at: https://paypal.me/pools/c/8nDORimtBG
Thank you very much!