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Westminster College Professor to Discuss Using Equations and Computer Algebra to Model the 1918 Pandemic

Posted on Wednesday, August 29, 2012

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa. - Dr. Carolyn Cuff, Westminster professor of mathematics, will present "A SAGE Approach to Modeling the 1918 Pandemic" at the Faires Faculty Forum Wednesday, Sept. 5, at 11:40 a.m. in the Sebastian Mueller Theater of the McKelvey Campus Center.

At least 27 percent of the world was infected by the Spanish flu of 1918-1920.  Mathematical models help explain the rapid spread, why the epidemic was over before all were infected, and the reason some quarantines were unsuccessful in limiting the spread.  Based on her recent sabbatical exploration, Cuff will explain how she used differential equations and a computer algebra system called SAGE to create and examine the basic model. Details and limitations of these mathematical models will also be explained.

Cuff, a 1978 Westminster graduate who joined the faculty in 1989, earned a master's and Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University.

The Faculty Forum was established in 1990 by Dr. Barbara Faires, Westminster professor of mathematics emerita, during her term as dean of the college and vice president for academic affairs.  Faculty members from all disciplines volunteer to present lectures on their current research, artistic productions, and scholarship of teaching and learning.  Each forum presents new ideas with innovative lecture techniques.

Contact Cuff at (724) 946-7291 or email for additional information.

Contact Charlene Klassen Endrizzi, faculty development officer, at (724) 946-7189 for more information on the Faires Faculty Forum or view the website here.

Dr. Carolyn Cuff, professor of mathematics