Date: Friday, September 29th at 3:35 p.m. in MATH 104
Abstract: E. Artin observed seventy years ago that the geometric idea of braids can be used to form a family of groups with interesting and subtle algebraic properties. The braid groups have been applied to a wide variety of situations, including knot theory, Riemann surfaces, the study of polynomials and even theoretical computer science.
This talk will begin with an introduction to the braid groups and their applications, and finish with some new results obtained jointly with Jun~Zhu, Roger~Fenn and Hamish~Short. It will be accessible to students, and it is hoped that the geometric aspect of these groups will help to illuminate certain algebraic concepts, such as centralisers, normalisers, commutator subgroups, etc.