Joint Mathematics and PIMS Distinguished Lecturer Colloquium
Monday, November 4th, 3:00 p.m.
Math Annex 1100
University of California, Berkeley
Skein theory in knot theory and beyond
John Conway invented skein theory as a tool for manipulating
knots and links and in particular calculating the Alexander
polynomial. It was extended somewhat in the 1980's when new
knot polynomials were discovered. More recently it has proved
useful in the theory of subfactors as a tool to construct and
analyse certain exotic structures. These structures remain
related to low dimensional topology as they have topological
quantum field theories attached. The unifying language is that
of planar algebras.