Department of Mathematics


  •  Noam Elkies, Harvard University
  •  Sphere Packing from Cerium to Viazovska
  •  12/13/2018
  •  4:10 PM - 5:00 PM
  •  C304 Wells Hall

The sphere packing problem in dimension $n$ asks: How densely can one pack identical Euclidean balls in $\mathbb{R}^n$ with disjoint interiors? We review some of this problem's history and connections with various areas of mathematics and science. Some special values of $n$, notably $8$ and $24$, allow for remarkably tight and symmetrical configurations that have long been suspected to be the densest possible in those dimensions. We conclude with the series of recent results culminating with Viazovska's breakthrough that led to the solution of the sphere packing problem for $n=8$ and $n=24$.



Department of Mathematics
Michigan State University
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C212 Wells Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824

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College of Natural Science