Everyone knows that zombies only exist in horror movies. Or do they? A new article in the University of Leicester's 'Journal of Physics Special Topics' predicts that zombies would kill almost everyone on Earth in just 100 days. Students predicted there would only be 273 survivors after three months of a zombie apocalypse. The students were not, of course, using real zombies found in fiction. Instead, they pretended that a deadly virus had infected someone and then spread around the world. They decided that one person with the virus would have a 90 per cent chance of infecting another person every day. They calculated that at that rate, the human population would fall to just 273 people by day 100.

A professor at the university, Mervin Roy, explained why students did research into a zombie apocalypse, even though zombies do not exist. He said: "Every year we ask students to write short papers for the Journal of Physics Special Topics. It lets the students show off their creative side and apply some of the physics they know to the weird, the wonderful, or the everyday." He also said it gives students valuable practice in writing and reviewing academic papers. He added that the annual research tested the ability of students to apply their understanding of physics to hypothetical scenarios (imaginary situations). This could help in the future to prepare us for real-life disasters.