September 13, 2021

Adam Kucharski

Harvard Book Store's virtual event series, the Harvard University Division of Science, and the Harvard Library welcome epidemiologist ADAM KUCHARSKI for the paperback release of his acclaimed book The Rules of Contagion: Why Things Spread—And Why They Stop. He will be joined in conversation by DR. BILL HANAGE, Associate Professor of Epidemiology in the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at Harvard's T. H. Chan School of Public Health.


These days, whenever anything spreads, whether it's a YouTube fad or a political rumor, we say it went viral. But how does virality actually work? In The Rules of Contagion, epidemiologist Adam Kucharski explores topics including gun violence, online manipulation, and, of course, outbreaks of disease to show how much we get wrong about contagion, and how astonishing the real science is.

Why did the president retweet a Mussolini quote as his own? Why do financial bubbles take off so quickly? Why are disinformation campaigns so effective? And what makes the emergence of new illnesses—such as MERS, SARS, or the coronavirus disease COVID-19—so challenging? By uncovering the crucial factors driving outbreaks, we can see how things really spread—and what we can do about it.

Whether you are an author seeking an audience, a defender of truth, or simply someone interested in human social behavior, The Rules of Contagion is an essential guide to modern life.

About Author(s)

Adam Kucharski is an associate professor at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and an award-winning science writer. A mathematician by training, his work on global epidemics has included Ebola, Zika and COVID-19, and he has produced real-time analysis for multiple governments and health agencies. He is a TED senior fellow and his popular science articles have appeared in publications including The ObserverFinancial Times and Wired. He has an MMath in Mathematics from the University of Warwick and a PhD in Applied Mathematics from the University of Cambridge.

Dr. Bill Hanage is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology in the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. His research and teaching focus on the epidemiology of infectious disease and the evolution of infectious agents. He received his PhD from Imperial College London. Dr. Hanage has made seminal contributions to the study of diverse pathogens, both bacteria and viruses, and has a special interest in evolution in response to interventions such as vaccination or antimicrobials. His research on the current pandemic has included modeling transmission in healthcare and the impact of vaccination in the context of variants, how fatality rates vary with age, and how the virus evolves in individual hosts. His awards include the Fleming Prize from the Microbiology Society and a young investigator award from the American Society for Microbiology. He has published more than scientific 170 articles and book chapters and is a regular contributor to popular media aiming to improve public understanding of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.