Academic Paper Quantifies ‘Bieber Fever’

Early on in the 21-page treatise “A Mathematical Model of Bieber Fever: The Most Infectious Disease of Our Time?,” University of Ottawa student Valerie Tweedle warns that “tabloid journalism may be our last, best hope” against this fast-moving media blight. In other words, only a sensationally negative scandal can (eventually) impede the constant flow on Twitter, Facebook and in the MSM of contagious news about the Canadian-born superstar.

Some north-of-the-border outlets were skeptical today about the document’s authenticity. But per a report on Canadian Press, the cheeky analysis earned Tweedle top marks from her teacher Dr. Robert J. Smith:

The study is a real modelling exercise, with the phenomenal growth in Bieber’s popularity — as evidenced by Twitter mentions and Google searches — used as a stand-in for the way an infectious disease spreads. Tweedle’s original work helped earned her an A-plus in Smith’s class…

“Obviously it’s not formally a disease, but it has the hallmarks of a disease,” Smith says about The Fever. “And so it behaves the way a disease would…”

A couple of years ago Smith garnered international headlines with an earlier modelling study exploring how the world could survive an attack of zombies.

The paper, which ropes in related scientific theorems such as the “Lindsay Lohan effect,” is a very fun read. Right down to some acknowledgments that thank nine-year-old students for their input and surmise that most Internet reporters will never make it to this final portion of the document.

[Editorial Note: Although we refrained in the above text, associate professor Smith generally prefers to have his last name listed with a question mark after it, per a legal name change. Or to again quote from the paper’s Acknowledgments – “Seriously.”]

Previously on FishbowlLA:
Religion Writer Vets Justin Bieber’s Newest Tattoo Makes Up Justin Bieber Story