Southern Oregon University will feature four lectures by mathematician Jeff Weeks on Thursday and Friday as part of the Kieval Lecture Series.




"Visualizing Four Dimensions" is an introductory lesson on visualizing four-dimensional space, with physical and philosophical applications as time permits. The lecture will begin at 11 a.m. on Thursday, May 22, in Taylor Hall, Room 20.




"The Shape of Space" looks at the possibility that the universe may not be infinite, but may instead have a shape we can perceive and understand. During the first half of the presentation, computer games will introduce the concept of a "multiconnected universe." Interactive 3D graphics will then take the audience on a tour of several possible shapes for space.




Finally, Weeks will present how recent satellite data is providing tantalizing clues to the true shape of our universe. This lecture will be held on Thursday, May 22, at 7 p.m. in Science Hall, Room 118.




"Where do Spherical Spaces Come From?" expands on the satellite data presented in "The Shape of Space" by using interactive 3D graphics to give participants an intuitive understanding of the various possible spherical spaces ("spherical 3-manifolds"). This third lecture will be held on Friday, May 23, at 11 a.m., in Taylor Hall, Room 20.




The "Curved Space Workshop" will give students a chance to construct physical models, introducing the concept of a curved surface. Interactive 3D graphics will then extend the concept to curved three-dimensional space. Students will see how measurements of the cosmic microwave background radiation are now placing limits on the curvature of the universe. This final lecture will be held Friday, May 23, at — p.m. in the Britt Ballroom.




The workshop is intended for science and math students. Prior attendance at the "Shape of Space" lecture is recommended but not required.




Jeff Weeks is a freelance mathematician living in Canton, N.Y. He holds a bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College and a doctorate from Princeton University, both in mathematics.




A former MacArthur Fellow and current National Science Foundation award recipient, Weeks splits his time between research and education. His present research centers on a collaboration with cosmologists to test the shape of the universe using satellite data. His educational activities have lead to a multimedia unit for middle schools on geometry and space. The unit uses classroom activities, computer games, and video to let students explore universes that are finite but have no boundaries.




For more information, call (800) 482-7672.