We’re facing a global pandemic. Some people are working hard and making sacrifices to keep others safe. You’re sacrificing and protecting people right now, by staying home, away from others and practicing “social distancing.” This week’s package is designed for you to explore and learn about how things like viruses spread, how scientists fight diseases, and why social distancing is important. This field of study is called epidemiology.
Epidemiology is the study of factors affecting the health and illness of populations. The basic premise of epidemiology is that the cause of a disease results in higher rates of the illness in those that have been exposed to the cause than in those who have not been exposed. And thus, one can look for the commonalities in those who are infected when searching for the cause. Epidemiology serves as the theoretical foundation and cornerstone methodology of public health research. Computer simulations are used in the field of epidemiology to study the spread of diseases and the outcomes of interventions made in the interest of public health and preventive medicine.
In this package, you will have the opportunity to use, modify, and create your own model of a contagion spreading through a community. You will learn about how disease spreads, and why social distancing matters. There are also interviews by experts in the field, articles and a community of learners to engage with as you build your models. After you’re done exploring, we’d love to hear from you! Share your models, your thoughts, and your ideas in the weekly forums.
Full STEAM Ahead!
This week, we have three experts here to help us understand different aspects of this week’s topic. Dr. Peter Senge studies complex systems and the way humans impact our environment. Prof. Seth Mnookin is a science writer who has written extensively on vaccines and epidemiology. Prof. Ruben Juanes is a scientist who among many topics of fluid dynamics studies transportation and the spread of disease.
How do I figure out what knowledge I should be paying attention to?
What is a pandemic?
How does transportation impact the spread of disease?
What are some ways to slow the spread of disease?
Importance of hand washing
Herd immunity and social distancing
Why do experts use modeling?
The power of modeling
How do we learn from modeling? (Watch from 5:34-10:20) and Systems and epidemics: our impact (Watch from 10:21-11:18)
How do scientists figure out what may happen? (Watch from 7:13 to end)