Goffman and Newill1 have directed attention to the analogy between the spreading of an infectious disease and the dissemination of information. We have recently examined the spreading of a rumour from the point of view of mathematical epidemiology and wish to report very briefly here on work to be published in detail elsewhere2. In particular, we must emphasize that a mathematical model for the spreading of rumours can be constructed in a number of different ways, depending on the mechanism postulated to describe the growth and decay of the actual spreading process. In all these models the mathematical techniques familiar in mathematical epidemiology can be applied, but even the qualitative results so obtained need not necessarily be as expected on the basis of the formal analogy with epidemics.
Goffman, W., and Newill, V. A., Nature, 204, 225 (1964).
Daley, D. J., and Kendall, D. G. (unpublished).
Bailey, N. T. J., The Mathematical Theory of Epidemics (Griffin, 1960).
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