Social distancing is supposed to "flatten the curve." Physicists love to approximate cows as spheres. If COVID-19 is the cow, then the Kermack-McKendrick SIR model of epidemics is the sphere. I will explain and play with this simple mathematical model of epidemics to help reveal sources of the curve’s general shape.


Moira Gresham
Associate Professor of Physics

Moira Gresham teaches courses at all levels in Whitman’s physics curriculum, from an introductory level course in general physics to an advanced course in general relativity. Her current theoretical physics research focuses on particle physics models of dark matter.

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COVID-19: A Liberal Arts Approach to the Study of a Global Pandemic was created in the spring of 2020 as a special one-credit course for Whitman College’s most newly admitted students, offering them an opportunity to get to know our distinguished faculty and to study a significant event in human history.