A journal run by physics students, Journal of Physics Special Topics, has recently published an interesting study that calculated how much humans will survive a zombie apocalypse and the results are not so encouraging. It presumes that in 100 days only about 300 humans or less will be left alive, making the percentage of zombies a million to one.
But there is still hope. A follow-up study found that humans will eventually get better at surviving and killing zombies and if they start reproducing, the population of humans would start growing again in 27 years.
This study is part of an annual exercise at the University of Leicester which allows students to apply science in real-life situations or to create their own experiments. No need to fret, there is absolutely no chance of a zombie apocalypse taking place in the near future, but professor Mervyn Roy thought the topic might be enjoyed by the students and it might also allow them to use complex concepts of physics and apply them practically. This is a marvelous initiative that develops the students’ creativity and allows them to have fun while learning.
Let us take a look at how students imagined the outcome of a zombie apocalypse. First of all, they calculated only for 100 days, therefore no birth and natural death-rate was taken into consideration since it is insignificant compared to the spreading of the zombie virus. They assumed that one zombie could find one person a day with a 90% chance of infection.
They also mapped the spreading of the disease using the SIR model and analyzed the chances of a human to survive according to the likelihood of an infection. The results were not so joyful, since humans would be outnumbered a million to one by zombies and only 273 human would remain alive on the planet.
These are the results for 100 days. Students predicted that it would take zombies only a year or even less to eradicate the human race. The follow-up study shows the bright side. Humans would eventually learn how to kill zombies and it will take them around 1,000 days (2.7 years) to wipe zombies out from the planet. In another 25 years, human population would be booming again.
With such results, we should be thankful that the prospect of a zombie apocalypse is quite impossible. Maybe humans should start learning something from all those video games they keep playing. We never know what should happen.
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