Ekaterinburg (Екатеринбург)

Ekaterinburg1In 1979 death struck the city of Ekaterinburg. Without warning, people suddenly started to get sick. At least 94 people were stricken and at least 64 died over a period of six weeks.

The Soviet version of events maintained maintained that there was an outbreak of Anthrax on farms close to Ekaterinburg. Infected sheep and cows had entered the food processing chain and the meat ended up being sold in Ekaterinburg. The deaths in the human population resulted when the people ate this tainted meat.

The Western democracies were not sure if this explanation made sense since the outbreak seemed faster and more deadly than they would have expected.

You are sent in to discretely interview surviving family members, farmers, or veterinarians to find out what happened. Can you find out what happened before your trip is over (30 days)?

2 days: Research Anthrax

2 days: Research about the Anthrax outbreak on the farms

2 days: Interview the Soviet official in charge of Ekateringburg’s emergency relief

2 days : Research the weather in Ekateringburg during the time of the epidemic

2 days: Research the apartment buildings around Ekateringburg

2 days: Research the fashion trends in Ekateringburg

20 days: Interview family members of those who died

The Math in this Problem

Operations Research is a branch in mathematics, which uses skilled methods to obtain optimal decisions to problems. These include those concerned with minimizing costs or maximizing profits, which are also correlated with amount of time research takes.  In this investigation, students are presented with the challenge of strategic planning and carefully allotting the time it takes to thoroughly complete a research project.