# Pandemics - visualizing the math

One of the of the obstacles to people taking measures to slow the spread of Covid-19 is that exponential growth is hard to grasp. Here’s a couple of great simulations you can share with people who think it’s nothing to worry about, or who don’t see why physical distancing might help.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2020/world/corona-simulator/
Have any other good illustrations to share?

5 Likes
5 Likes

I recall the apocryphal tale of the man who invented chess. The local King was very impressed and asked what reward he would like. So he said just one grain of rice on the first square, two on the second square, four on the third, eight on the fourth and so on.

The King thought this very modest until he sought to deliver the reward and discovered that every grain of rice that ever existed, and perhaps ever will exist would not be sufficient.

The Atomic bomb is another case of this.

2 Likes

The difference between a Nuclear power plant and a Nuclear bomb is “social distancing” of the atoms that prevents the nuclear reaction from spreading too fast.

6 Likes

“Would you rather have a million dollars or the sum of a penny doubled every day for a month?”
That was another example I had in mind. Great at home activity to do with your kids (or any “not going to grow that fast” believer). Put out a chessboard with one item on the first square, and each day put double the number on the next square. Yes, even if you’ve been saving all the little cutout bits from your projects, you will run out rather quickly!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheat_and_chessboard_problem

3 Likes

Gaming nerds figured this out years ago.

4 Likes

So we just need a hard reset?

This channel is fantastic. Watched a ton of their stuff. Saw this one over the weekend; super good visualizations.

2 Likes

Thanks, that’s an excellent resource!

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 32 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.