Profile: Atif Kukaswadia
Atif Kukaswadia – AKA Mr. Epidemiology – is here to help you understand the science that’s important to your life. As a PhD candidate in Queen’s Department of Public Health Sciences and a science writer for the Public Library of Science (PLOS) blogs network, Kukaswadia is immersed in creating and reporting on scientific knowledge of direct relevance to the public, and he wants to share the wealth.
NoteStreams By Atif Kukaswadia
Before you get too excited, this John Snow, may not be who you think he is.
The Zika virus is an arbovirus infection transmitted by several different species of Aedes mosquitoes. In adults, the most common symptoms of Zika virus disease are fever, rash, joint pain, and conjunctivitis.
Category: Social Awareness
The poverty rate in the US remained mostly consistent from 1966 to 2014, fluctuating from 15% to 11%. We like to call it the “American Dream.”
A researcher probes the role of a 16th century megadrought.
The National Safety Council estimated that, in the first 6 months of 2015, there were approximately 18,630 motor-vehicle deaths, and almost 2.2 million injuries, costing approximately $152 billion (a figure that includes direct and indirect costs).
Statistics. Math. Mental arithmetic. Do those words scare you? If they do, you’re in good company. Mathematical anxiety is a well studied phenomenon that manifests for a number of different reasons. It’s an issue I’ve talked about before at length, and something that frustrates me no end. In my opinion though, one of the biggest culprits behind this is how math alienates people.
As teachers and educators, we suffer from a very real limitation when it comes to teaching. Either due to time, lack of equipment or other constraints we cannot teach some issues the way we would like. But even in the most well-equipped lab, sometimes we can’t teach a concept because the technology doesn’t exist. Teachers can use outlandish examples to discuss a concept, and then work backwards from there to discuss the limitations we currently face, a concept called a Thought Experiment.
In 1953, approximately 35,000 new cases were reported. This was up from an annual average of 20,000 cases. The 1952 infections left 3,145 people dead and 21,269 with mild to disabling paralysis. However, even before the 1952 and 1953 outbreaks, labs had been worked diligently to find a cure for Polio. Relief finally came when Jonas Salk developed a vaccine.
But first, Salk had to show that the vaccine worked.
Recently, I was sitting in a meeting with some people, and during a lull in the conversation, they asked me:
“Hey, you’re in public health. What is the biggest problem you face?”
That’s a tough question.
Others might pick the more “sexy” health issues of the day such obesity or cancer, I’m going to go off the board. I think the biggest problem public health faces is Time. I’ll explain what I mean through e-cigarettes.
(CC BY 3.0)
Let me tell you a story about William Sealy Gosset. William was a Chemistry and Math grad from Oxford University in the class of 1899 (they were partying like it was 1899 back then). After graduating, he took a job with the brewery of Arthur Guinness and Son, where he worked as a mathematician, trying to find the best yields of barley.
But this is where he ran into problems.
Using Math to make Guinness by PLOS Blogs Network, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
I regularly work with undergraduate and graduate students in statistics, and I notice that many of them, while they have all the skills to do math, are absolutely terrified of it. But you need it for daily life. Mathematical literacy is the knowledge and skills required to apply arithmetic operations, to numbers embedded in printed materials, such as balancing a checkbook, figuring out a tip, completing an order form or determining the amount of interest on a loan from an advertisement.
My basic premise is this: Science is awesome, but science needs to do a better job of communicating that awesomeness to non-scientists. We’re sitting on the frontiers of human knowledge, and yet we cannot get others as excited about this issue that we’re very, very passionate about.
Science and Storytelling: The use of stories in science education is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License