Via Wired, here's the abstract of "When Zombies Attack!: Mathematical Modelling Of An Outbreak Of Zombie Infection," a study included in Nova Science Publishers' 2009 title Infectious Disease Modelling Research Progress (also known as IDMRP among aficionados, and due to be turned into a major motion picture directed by David Mamet and starring Viggo Mortensen for Christmas '10).
Zombies are a popular figure in pop culture/entertainment and they are usually portrayed as being brought about through an outbreak or epidemic. Consequently, we model a zombie attack, using biological assumptions based on popular zombie movies. We introduce a basic model for zombie infection, determine equilibria and their stability, and illustrate the outcome with numerical solutions. We then refine the model to introduce a latent period of zombification, whereby humans are infected, but not infectious, before becoming undead. We then modify the model to include the effects of possible quarantine or a cure. Finally, we examine the impact of regular, impulsive reductions in the number of zombies and derive conditions under which eradication can occur. We show that only quick, aggressive attacks can stave off the doomsday scenario: the collapse of society as zombies overtake us all.
One of the authors is a University of Ottawa professor named Robert J. Smith?-the question mark is deliberate-who has a fairly amusing faculty page, if you are grading on the curve of mathematics professor faculty pages. Anyway, I had a dream last night where I was in some kind of zombie scenario, so this whole thing is rather helpful and reassuring. Or would be if I could understand math.