# The Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything

Date: Wed, Apr 7, 2021

Location: Zoom, Online

Conference: PIMS Network Wide Colloquium

Subject: Mathematics, Physics

Class: Scientific

### Abstract:

In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Douglas Adams, the number 42 was revealed to be the “Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything”. But he didn’t say what the question was! I will reveal that here. In fact it is a simple geometry question, which then turns out to be related to the mathematics underlying string theory.

#### Speaker Biography

John Baez is a leader in the area of mathematical physics at the interface between quantum field theory and category theory, and has broad interests in mathematics, and science more generally. He created one of the earliest blogs "This week's finds in Mathematical Physics" (before the term blog existed!)

Baez did his PhD at MIT, and was a Gibbs Instructor at Yale before moving to University of California, Riverside in 1988.

#### About the series

Starting in 2021, PIMS has inaugurated a high-level network-wide colloquium series. Distinguished speakers will give talks across the full PIMS network with one talk per month during the academic term. The 2021 speaker series is part of the PIMS 25th Anniversary showcase.