Here at Plus, we were very grateful for Tom Irving's work during the COVID-19 pandemic. He was the Co-Head of the secretariat of the Scientific Pandemic Influenza Modelling group (otherwise known as SPI-M). One of his responsibilities was writing the consensus statements that came out of SPI-M, summarising current understanding of the mathematical advice to the UK government. We found these incredibly useful when reporting on the pandemic.
We finally met Tom when we were both speaking at the Communicating mathematics for the public event in January 2023 at the Newton Gateway to Mathematics in Cambridge. In this podcast Tom tells us about providing a bridge between policy and mathematics, the importance of transparency, and the joy of the R number being discussed at the hairdressers.
This episode is part of On the mathematical frontline, a special series of the Plus podcast which explores the work of mathematicians grappling with the unprecedented challenge of studying a live pandemic unfolding in front of their eyes. In this series we interview our colleagues in the JUNIPER modelling consortium, whose research and insights have fed into SPI-M and SAGE - the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, both of whom advise the UK government on the scientific aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
You can watch Tom's talk on the Challenges in Communicating the Results of SAGE's Covid Modelling, and you can find all our work covering COVID-19 here.
This podcast is part of our collaboration with JUNIPER, the Joint UNIversity Pandemic and Epidemic Response modelling consortium.
JUNIPER comprises academics from the universities of Cambridge, Warwick, Bristol, Exeter, Oxford, Manchester, and Lancaster, who are using a range of mathematical and statistical techniques to address pressing question about the control of COVID-19. You can see more content produced with JUNIPER here.