“How Contagion Works: Science, Awareness and Community in Times of Global Crises” by Paolo Giordano

Physicist Paolo Giordano’s essay written at the start of the lockdown was shared more than 4 million times and helped shift public opinion in the early stages of the epidemic. This edition translated from Italian into English by Alex Valente is a slim little booklet that outlines simply the different stages of the epidemic.

Paolo Giordano says “Epidemics are mathematical emergencies first and foremost. Because maths isn’t the science of numbers — not really — it’s the science of relations it describes the bonds and the exchanges between different entities, regardless of what these entities might be made of, abstracting them into letters, functions, vectors, points and planes. The contation is an infection of our relations.”

An essay that discusses the different stages of an epidemic, how it affects us all, the newness of the experience creates unexpected reactions but it is important to recognise and imbibe qualities that will help survive an epidemic. Also to understand that it is important to be a little more careful than usual, a little more kinder. It will go a long way in helping us survive this pandemic.

An essay that is essential reading. No surprise that it was shared over 4 million times when it was first published. So many gems of wisdom with a deep analytical understanding of what is the life cycle of this pandemic. Although it is about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it is oddly a reassuring book to read.

4 October 2020

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