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Topological interpretations of Vassiliev invariants


Speaker: James Conant, Cornell University
Location: 693 Kerr
Start time: Tue, Jan 7 2003, 4:10PM

Vassiliev invariants are a special class of knot invariants which are most easily characterized by a simple combinatorial axiom. Unfortunately this axiom does not give much insight into what these invariants are actually measuring topologically. I will remedy this situation by presenting a couple of different topological interpretations of said invariants. The first is joint work with Peter Teichner and interprets these invariants as embedding obstructions to certain 2-complexes. The second is joint work in progress with Ryan Budney, Kevin Scannell and Dev Sinha, and involves interpreting Vassiliev invariants through the algebraic topology of configuration spaces.

3:45 Refreshments will be served before the talk in 551 Kerr Hall