Geometry Center Videos, Revisited

Page index: Intro | Written Material: Main Trilogy | Videos: Main Trilogy | Geometry Center Video Library Index


The trilogy of
Geometry Center videos are now all legally available for free online! These videos brought brought concepts from geometric topology to general audiences through computer-generated visualization in the early 1990s. Not Knot, released in 1991, illustrates a remarkable swath of knot theory and hyperbolic geometry. Outside In, released in 1994, showcases Thurston's approach to turning a sphere inside out. The Shape of Space, finished in 1995, is about spaces that are finite but have no boundaries, covering some of the material in the book of that name by Jeff Weeks. These videos were shown at the SIGGRAPH Electronic Theater, featured on the cover of Scientific American, and won awards at NICOGRAPH, the London Effects and Animation Festival, Prix Pixel Imagina, and Prix Ars Electronica.

These creations are no longer formally in print, since VHS tapes and DVDs are obsolete. The rights have now been reverted from the original publishers (AK Peters and Key Curriculum Press) to the authors. We are now able to post both the videos and written supplements for all to enjoy. The videos have been uploaded by many people over the years and viewed many millions of times (and even used for parody mashups!), but the written supplements had not been widely available.

In addition to the flagship videos, many more videos were created at the Geometry Center by visitors and summer interns, typically made in collaboration with the technical staff. Some were fully scripted and narrated videos that can stand alone. Others were intended as "video overheads", made to accompany a research talk given by a mathematician - quick to create, and without voiceovers. Many documented summer student projects. Over 200 physical videotapes were created, using a mix of single-frame recording and live on-screen demos. We are now digitizing and uploading most of the unique (finalized, non-draft) material that was the core of Geometry Center video library; the full list of what has been / will be converted is below.

The Geometry Center was the short name of the NSF-funded National Science and Technology Center for the Computation and Visualization of Geometric Structures, which was located at the University of Minnesota from 1991-1998. Its precedessor, The Geometry Supercomputer Project, started in 1987. Video creation was only one of the many achievements of the Center; a good overview of the full scope of its mission and accomplishments is in the 1994 self-study report.

Written Material: Main Trilogy

Videos: Main Trilogy

Geometry Center Video Library Index

Tamara Munzner
Last modified: Tue Jan 11 02:08:27 PST 2022