When we look out on a clear night, the universe seems infinite, yet this is an illusion, says Jeffrey Weeks, a freelance mathematician, who will speak at the University of Minnesota at 7 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 12 in Willey Hall, Room 175, 225 19th Ave. S., Minneapolis. In fact, it is a "multi-connected universe" and the best way to explain it is through interactive 3D graphics and games that show several possible shapes for space, Weeks says.
A noted author and mathematician, Weeks is the second speaker in the public lecture series sponsored by the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) at the University of Minnesota. The lecture is appropriate for anyone fascinated with space and the universe—from middle school students to adults.
Weeks says understanding the universe is based on mathematics, but in teaching, it is essential to start with great visuals. "I let the audience experience the games to understand the math." he said.
Weeks received his Ph.D. in mathematics from Princeton University in 1985. He was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 1999. His research focuses on the use of powerful mathematical tools to solve problems in physical cosmology, a branch of astronomy that studies the largest scale structures and dynamics of our universe, particularly how it was formed and how it evolves.
For more information on this and other public lectures sponsored by the IMA, visit http://www.ima.umn.edu/public-lecture.
The Institute for Mathematics and its Applications (IMA) brings together the best minds in math and the sciences to solve pressing problems facing our society, our industries, and our planet. It is funded by the National Science Foundation and the University of Minnesota.