By Ashleigh Jones
On Feb. 9, the Department of Math and Computer Science hosted the first event in their Research Colloquium Series, a sequence of presentations designed to highlight faculty research to the Samford community this semester.
Assistant Professor and Applied Mathematician Kwadwo Antwi-Fordjour gave the first presentation titled, “Can Fear of Infectious Diseases Eliminate Local Populations?” He explained the process of formulating mathematical models from scratch and introduced a model he created that helps predict how fear of infectious diseases can decrease growth rates in populations.
The field of applied mathematics involves using mathematical models to analyze systems in fields like epidemiology and predict certain outcomes that can help equip policy makers to decide their next plan of action for handling situations related to COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.
During his presentation, Antwi-Fordjour said that fear of contracting COVID-19 and the resulting psychological stress has taken a toll on peoples’ lives. He talked about a message from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention website on how fear and stress related to COVID-19 has had an enormous effect on peoples’ lives, including causing chronic health conditions to worsen, trouble focusing, sleeping issues and increased use of substances.
“They are seeing the effect of fear on the mental behavior of people,” Antwi-Fordjour said when referring to psychologists that have observed people who fear COVID-19.
Antwi-Fordjour said that educating people and making them aware of the health problems correlated with fear of COVID-19 can help people take it seriously and help reduce their fear before their health gets worse.
Antwi-Fordjour’s talk was just one of several happening this semester. The Research Colloquium Series will continue throughout the semester with talks from Professors Jeffrey Powell, Mingwei Sun, Chad Awtrey and Frank Patane.
The purpose of these events is to expose the Samford community to the Math and Computer Science department, inspire students and encourage collaboration between different departments like Biology and Health Sciences.
Antwi-Fordjour organized this series to help others learn about what the department is doing and hopes that people leave with a sense of awe toward mathematics.
“It’s just going to foster interdisciplinary collaborations,” Antwi-Fordjour said. “I just want them to know that ‘hey, math is beautiful and everything is math.’ Math is really the language of creation. You meet it in whatever you’re doing.”
Events last from approximately 2:30-3:30 p.m. in Russell Hall room 325. Students and faculty can attend in person or virtually.