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Dr. Jeffrey Weeks to give a series of Della Pietra Lectures at the SCGP – May 3rd and 4th

On Thursday, May 3rd and Friday, May 4th free-lance Mathematician Dr. Jeffrey Weeks will deliver three talks for the Della Pietra Lecture Series at the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics, Stony Brook University.


The capstone talk of this series
“The Shape of Space,”
will be held on Thursday, May 3rd at 7:00 pm in the SCGP Main Auditorium, Room 103.


“The Shape of Space” is geared toward a general audience (middle school through high school students in particular) Dr. Weeks discusses that while the universe may seem infinite, that infinity may be an illusion. During this presentation Dr. Weeks will use computer games to introduce the concept of a multi-connected universe. Interactive 3D graphics and satellite data will also provide tantalizing clues to the true shape of our universe.

On Thursday afternoon, May 3rd Dr. Weeks will also give a hands-on workshop on “Symmetry: Folding and Unfolding” (participants are welcome to bring iPads though they are not required) and on Friday, May 4th an introductory lesson on Visualizing 4-Dimensional Space.  See the image (at left) for full details.

Dr. Jeffrey Weeks fell in love with geometry in 12th grade when he read the book Flatland. He studied math and physics at Dartmouth College and topology at Princeton University. After teaching at Ithaca College, Jeff resigned to be a full-time Dad for several years. With support from a MacArthur Fellowship and the NSF, Dr. Weeks works as a free-lance mathematician, in recent years studying the topology of the universe and developing educational materials. Dr. Weeks received the 2007 Conant Prize for his article “The Poincaré Dodecahedral Space and the Mystery of the Missing Fluctuations,” published in Notices of the AMS in 2004. In that article, together with a 1998 article, “Measuring the Space of the Universe,” he explained how extremely sensitive measurements of microwave radiation across the sky provide information about the origins and shapes of the universe (spherical, Euclidean, or a hyperbolic 3-manifold). His prize citation noted, “”Weeks has explained the mathematics behind models whose validity cosmologists debate while waiting for more experimental evidence….Weeks has given a rare glimpse into the role of mathematics in the development and testing of physical theories.”


All of these lectures were made possible by a generous donation from brothers Stephen and Vincent Della Pietra. The Della Pietra Lecture Series aims to bring world-renowned scientists to the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics to enhance the intellectual activity of the Center and also bring greater awareness of recent and impactful discoveries in Physics and Mathematics to the Long Island community.