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Sphere Packings I

Thomas C. Hales
Journal / Anthology

Discrete Comput. Geom.
Year: 1997
Volume: 17
Page range: 1-51

We describe a program to prove the Kepler conjecture on sphere packings. We then carry out the first step of this program. Each packing determines a decomposition of space into Delaunay simplices, which are grouped together into finite configurations called Delaunay stars. A score, which is related to the density of packings, is assigned to each Delaunay star. We conjecture that the score of every Delaunay star is at most the score of the stars in the face-centered cubic and hexagonal close packings. This conjecture implies the Kepler conjecture. To complete the first step of the program, we show that every Delaunay star that satisfies a certain regularity condition satisfies the conjecture.