What inspired your latest research into COVID-19?
By training, I’m a mathematical physicist and before the pandemic my research focused on the applications of topology to quantum field theory. During our first lockdown, I began talking with some colleagues at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics about how we could apply models from physics, particularly percolation theory, to understand COVID-19.
We ended up forming an interdisciplinary team of physicists alongside experts on modeling infectious diseases and vaccination. There is some classic research in percolation theory that shows that the rate of spread of an infectious disease increases when the population has more variation in their number of contacts.