Episode 224: Modeling Covid-19

How do we make sense of the madness around us? Well, there’s the rational, scientific approach: gather data, build models, keep refining and iterating, get closer and closer to the truth. Gautam Menon joins Amit Varma in episode 224 of The Seen and the Unseen to describe the exciting field of biophysics and his work in building mathematical models of infectious diseases — especially Covid-19. Also discussed: the joys of science, and how Indian music is the best embodiment of the idea of India. Kumar Gandharva FTW.

Also check out:
1. Gautam Menon on TwitterAshokaIMSc and Google Scholar.
2. The Novel Coronavirus Variants and India’s Uncertain Future — Gautam Menon.
3. How Do Scientists Model the Spread of an Infectious Disease? — Gautam Menon.
4. Control, Consensus, Chaos: The Global Response to the Pandemic — A talk on YouTube by Sheila Jasanoff.
5. The Big Question: Can India Find a Way Out of Its Covid Nightmare? — Shahid Jameel interviewed by Bobby Ghosh.
6. Past episodes of The Seen and the Unseen on Covid-19, featuring (in reverse chronological order) Ajay ShahAnirban MahapatraRuben MascarenhasChinmay TumbeRukmini SVaidehi TandelVivek KaulAnup Malani and Shruti Rajagopalan.
7. My Family and Other Animals — Gerald Durrell.
8. A Cricket Tragic Celebrates the Game — Episode 201 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Ramachandra Guha).
9. Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction — Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner.
10. We Are All Gamblers — Amit Varma.
11. Range Rover — Amit Varma’s column on poker for the Economic Times.
12. Demystifying GDP — Episode 130 of The Seen and the Unseen (w Rajeswari Sengupta).
13. The New World Upon Us — Amit Varma (on Alpha Zero).
14. Why Does the Pandemic Seem to Be Hitting Some Countries Harder Than Others? — Siddhartha Mukherjee.
15. Episode Zero: The preview episode of The Seen and the Unseen.
16. Indian Scientists’ Response to CoViD-19.
17. A state-level epidemiological model for India: INDSCI-SIM.
18. Anup Malani on India’s COVID Second Wave — Episode 13 of Season 5 of Grand Tamasha, hosted by Milan Vaishnav.

Books recommended by Gautam Menon

1. Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic — David Quammen.
2. The Rules of Contagion: Why Things Spread – and Why They Stop — Adam Kucharski.
3, Early Indians: The Story of Our Ancestors and Where We Came From — Tony Joseph, who also appeared on Seen/Unseen.
4. Lilavati’s Daughters — Edited by Rohini Godbole and Ram Ramaswamy,
5. The Man Who Knew Infinity — Robert Kanigel.
6. Never Let Me Go — Kazuo Ishiguro.
7. Half of a Yellow Sun — Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

This episode is sponsored by The Great Courses Plus. Check out their course, Mysteries of the Microscopic World, taught by Bruce E Fleury. For free unlimited access for a month, click here.

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And check out Amit’s online course, The Art of Clear Writing.