Thursday, January 21, 2021

The Contagion Detective: How Diseases like Covid-19 and Misinformation Spread


Adam Kucharski, The Contagion Detective.

I am a regular listener of To the Best of Our Knowledge on Wisconsin Public Radio, although these days I listen to podcasts more than live broadcasts.  This interview with Adam Kucharski was fascinating in that he has been able to bridge the worlds of math, epidemiology, and social contagion.   We've all heard the phrase when something "goes viral" on social media.  Well, it turns out the same rules from math and biology apply to the viral spread of information, or misinformation.  The wheels started to whir in my brain and I had an a-ha moment where it all started to make sense!  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Here's Steve Paulson's introduction:

The COVID-19 pandemic was some epidemiologist’s nightmare when Adam Kucharski was writing "Rules of Contagion." The book draws on ideas from “outbreak science” to illuminate how and why viruses spread. Information from biology, Kucharski expertly demonstrates, has helped scientists understand how misinformation rages like fire in the fields of politics and finance. Kucharski is entitled to feel like Nostradamus, but people in his field “always have the next pandemic on the radar,” he told Wired.

I caught up with Kucharski to learn about the key ideas in "Rules of Contagion," and hear his views on the COVID-19 pandemic. You can read the full conversation over on Nautilus.  Read more ...

Listen to the interview 

Link to the TTBOOK page

Link to the related (longer) interview on Nautilus

TTBOOK Episode: Vaccine Trackers

The Book: Rules of Contagion: Why Things Spread -- And Why They Stop by Adam Kucharski

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