Sir Michael Atiyah - The Mysteries of Space 
The 64th annual Gibbs Lecture was given by Sir Michael Atiyah, Fellow of the Royal Society, of Trinity College, Cambridge, England. At a conference in San Francisco, California in January 1991, he delivered "Physics and the mysteries of space", which was filmed and made available on videotape by the American Mathematical Society, publishing out of Providence, Rhode Island, as part of their Selected Lectures in Mathematics series.
"From the earliest times, the geometry of space has been intimately involved with physics. As science has evolved and our understanding has deepened, the relations between geometry and physics have become subtler and more complex. At the time of this lecture, fundamentally new ideas from both areas were dramatically altering conceptions about the nature of the universe. In this presentation, Sir Michael Atiyah, one of the foremost mathematicians of the 20th century, discusses some of the deep connections that have been discovered between mathematics and quantum physics. Starting with the viewpoints of Euclid and Newton, Atiyah moves on to ideas growing out of Jones' work on knots in 3-space and Donaldson's work on 4-manifolds. In describing how Witten has brought these developments into contact with quantum field theory, Atiyah shows how quantum field theory is in itself an effort to understand the structure of a vacuum. A witty, engaging, and clear-sighted lecturer, Atiyah makes this fascinating topic accessible to audiences with a general scientific background."
In order to show the public some idea of the aspects of mathematics and its applications, the American Mathematical Society Council established the Josiah Willard Gibbs Lectureship in 1923. Gibbs, a mathematical physicist, was one of the greatest scientists America has ever produced. The speakers for these public lectures are selected by invitation. It is hoped that these lectures will enable the public and the academic community to become aware of the contribution that mathematics is making to present-day thinking and to modern civilization.