The Mathematics of Zombies

My friend Helene alerted me to the following article from Wired that talks about a paper that was actually published analyzing the mathematics of a zombie attack on civilization.  Since they initially only specified that the authors were from Canada without giving their names, I went immediately to the source to determine if quantum zombie fan Chris Fuchs (really a Texan, but currently residing in the Great White North) was behind this.  Apparently the answer to that is ‘no.’  Oh well.

Anyway, I really liked the comment on the Wired website posted by ‘immuno’ that said,

As an immunologist I’d argue that, once a zombie recovers, he is immune rather than susceptible, and therefore standard Reed-Frost kinetics should apply. This is based on never having observed a recovered zombie succumb again (and there is no case reported in PubMed), which is pretty conclusive evidence, wouldn’t you say? And what kind of name is Smith? ?

Incidentally, among the many HTML tags given to it by Wired editors, was ‘howtosurviveazombieattack.’  In addition, one of the paper’s coauthors (and it appears the faculty advisor of the students who were the lead authors) is named ‘Robert J. Smith?.’  The question mark is legally part of his name, hence the double-question mark in the above quote and by addition of a period in the previous sentence.  I wonder if he ever gets flak from journal editors about that (assuming they’re not zombie editors since zombies likely wouldn’t care).

A copy of the paper in PDF format may be found here.


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