Mathematician Weeks To Discuss, Demonstrate "the Shape Of Space"

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WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., February 5, 2001 — If you think the universe an infinite body, not so fast, says Jeffrey Weeks, a mathematician whose research is at the vanguard of cosmological study.

Weeks will present his evidence in “The Shape of Space,” a lecture set for Monday, Feb. 12 at 8 p.m. The event, which is scheduled for Thompson Biology, room 112, on the Williams College campus is freeand open to the public.

“The Shape of Space” lecture will be presented in three parts. The first will use computer simulations to show that space can be finite but still not have boundaries. Weeks will then show footage from his video, “The Shape of Space,” to guide the audience through a series of possible universe shapes. Finally, Weeks will explain the Big Bang, the phenomenon whose remaining radiation patterns might expose the universe’s real shape.

The lecture — and the popular video — draws on Weeks’ acclaimed book of the same name. Weeks, who received a MacArthur “genius prize,” has also explored this subject in articles published in “Scientific American” and “Notices of the American Mathematical Society.”

His computer programs Kali and KaleidoTile teach grade school and high school students about tiling and symmetry, while a third program, SnapPea, is used by mathematicians and cosmologists for analyzing the possible shapes of space.