Students and teachers from Winchester College and nearby Barton Peveril College have had a paper published in the prestigious, international journal Physics Education.
The paper uses a well-established mathematical model in a new way to show how plagues develop. It was written by physics teachers Dr John Cullerne and Dr Andy French, with some of the challenging mathematics and software tackled by Winchester sixth-former Dexter and Barton Peveril student Alfie. In addition, Dr Robin Thompson of Oxford University was involved.
Between them the group developed special software to analyse both the 1666 bubonic plague of Eyam, a village in Derbyshire and the 2014-16 outbreak of Ebola in West Africa.
The outbreak in Eyam in 1666 was remarkable for the way the villagers quarantined themselves in a brave – but ultimately useless – attempt to stop the spread of the plague, which had more than a year earlier spread from London.
The paper – The pedagogical power of context: extending the Epidemiology of Eyam – is the second in a series from Winchester College about creating mathematical models of those who infect and those who are susceptible during epidemics.
“The language and techniques of mathematics provide the syntax of a narrative which incorporates history, medicine and computing,” said Dr French. “This could usefully contribute to economics, human geography and other social sciences.”
Dr French added that the chief aim of the work behind the paper is to extend a cross-curricular, project-based enterprise, which could be used as a template for an extended project qualification (EPQ) or an equivalent long-term study for sixth-formers. EPQs will be an option for Winchester College students to complement their A level studies from September 2020.
26th June 2020
There is always something to celebrate at Winchester College and the last couple of years have been particularly full of significant anniversaries - the opening of the boarding houses and the conversion of Commoners into classrooms - and this summer sees the 150th anniversary of the opening of Moberly Library.
8th June 2020
English don, Richard Stillman reflects on the protests sweeping the United States and United Kingdom, what we might do to educate ourselves, and how this might help make a difference.
1st June 2020
In our latest Thought for the Week, Dr Jamie Barron notes that the COVID-19 crisis has brought scientists into the spotlight, but that science by its nature sits uncomfortably with the world of the sound-bite.
21st May 2020
Looking ahead to the next Treasury exhibition, Dr Griffin considers the work of Sir Thomas Browne (OW), a physician renowned for his close observation of nature.
19th May 2020
This year, Winchester Maths Summer School will go ahead, virtually. 25 students from the maintained sector will enjoy maths challenges, get advice from current undergraduates, and prepare to study maths at university.
11th May 2020
As he sets off on his own creative sabbatical, Malcolm recommends exploring one's own creativity, and spending time in nature, as a balm for life, beyond the present circumstances.