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Creating Curves: The Uses and Abuses of Predictive Mathematical Modelling

How many people read the average academic journal paper? Poke about the internet and you’ll get a few answers: the average paper is only read by 10 people and half are only read by their authors and reviewers. These stats have questionable sources, but it’s likely that academic and fiction publishing have similar patterns – there’s a handful of Harry Potters and a very large amount of dusty paper.

Research funders have been concerned about this for some time. They don’t want to hand out six figure research grants only to receive a few journal papers and a handful of receipts for academic conferences in sunny climes. In response they dreamed up the 'impact' agenda, encouraging academics to strike out beyond their ivory towers and engage with public policy and the business world. Most research reporting now requires you to list all of the wonderful things you’ve done to create impact.

One group who probably won’t need to write an impact statement is the Imperial College COVID-1…

Everything’s (not) awesome – we’re all glued in place

Starting a blog post with “EVERYTHING IS AWESOME!” might be an unusual approach in the current circumstances. You might look at the date and think that isolation has caused a few screws to work loose inside my head. But you might also recognise the annoyingly catchy song from 2014’s Lego Movie.
Like many people, in 2020 I’m currently spending more time with my family than I expected. One of my small son’s current obsessions is the Lego Movie. In this cinematic masterpiece the evil Lord Business hates disorder. He builds walls between the various Lego worlds and employs a crooked policeman to crack down on the ‘master builders’ who won’t follow instructions. Finally, he deploys the Kragle, a doomsday weapon that literally glues everyone in their place.
I suspect you can see an analogy coming on. Yes, that’s how the world feels to me at the moment – we’ve all been Kraggled. Our physical lives have been fixed in place where they were last Monday, whilst health and financial fears for bo…