Mathematical Biology – the ‘R’ number and other applications

About this talk

Content Warning: This academic talk and the further resources will include the academic discussion of topics which may for some students may recount trauma or be offensive. Specifically, this talk includes mention of death as a result of a pandemic. This will be discussed briefly in the middle of the talk approximately 18 minutes into the talk.

What are the practical uses of differential equations for biology? In this talk, Professor Philip K. Maini discusses the ‘R’ number which was frequently discussed at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic and how it can be uncovered and understood through the use of differential equations, before considering the other uses of differential equations outside of the lens of the pandemic. This talk will be particularly engaging for those considering Mathematics, Biology, Medicine, Biochemistry, Geography and Politics.

Further Resources

For more information on the work being done to convert mathematical models into biology, listen to this Ted Talk by Irina Kareva on the use of mathematical models in the discovery and description of typical dynamics of cancer. You can watch the talk and find a transcript by clicking here.  

If you want to learn about how partial differential equations are being used outside of biology, and instead in the world of AI, then have a look at this article from the MIT Technology Review on recent advancements which will help us to solve partial differential equations faster and get a better picture of how we can use mathematical models to make future predictions. You can access the article by clicking here.

Professor Phillip K. Maini
Professor Phillip K. Maini

Professor Philip K. Maini is Director of the Wolfson Centre for Mathematical Biology and a Professorial Fellow of Mathematical Biology at St. John’s College, Oxford.  Professor Maini’s key interest is in mathematical modelling of those mechanisms which underly processes which occur in developmental biology and diseases. Professor Maini was also awarded the Arthur T. Winfree Prize from the Society of Mathematical Biology in 2017.
You can find out more about Professor Maini’s research and background by clicking here, or for a more concise summary click here.