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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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Weeks to discuss the shape of space, June 7

Independent mathematician Jeffrey Weeks, a Princeton graduate alumnus renowned for his work in mathematics and cosmology, will deliver a lecture on "The Shape of Space" at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 7, in A01 McDonnell Hall.

Weeks was awarded a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" in 1999 for his fundamental contributions to the analysis of knots and his collaborations with cosmologists to interpret the shape of the universe. He has written books and articles targeted for young adults and other nonspecialists that are designed to stimulate interest in geometry and space.

Weeks' lecture will feature computer games that introduce the concept of a "multiconnected universe." He also will employ interactive 3-D graphics and examine recent satellite data for clues to the real shape of the universe.

Weeks earned his Ph.D. in mathematics from Princeton in 1985 and has taught at Stockton State College and Ithaca College. He currently resides in Genoa, Italy, where he develops geometry and topology software in addition to researching questions about the universe's shape.

His lecture is part of a June 7-11 conference, "Geometry and the Imagination," honoring the 60th birthday of William Thurston, one of the world's leading mathematicians and one of Weeks' mentors. Thurston, a former Princeton professor, is currently on the faculty at Cornell University.

The lecture and the conference are sponsored by the Department of Mathematics, the Clay Mathematics Institute and the National Science Foundation. For more information, visit the conference website.

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