Synopses & Reviews
A selection of topics which graduate students have found to be a successful introduction to the field, employing three distinct techniques: geometric topology manoeuvres, combinatorics, and algebraic topology. Each topic is developed until significant results are achieved and each chapter ends with exercises and brief accounts of the latest research. What may reasonably be referred to as knot theory has expanded enormously over the last decade and, while the author describes important discoveries throughout the twentieth century, the latest discoveries such as quantum invariants of 3-manifolds as well as generalisations and applications of the Jones polynomial are also included, presented in an easily intelligible style. Readers are assumed to have knowledge of the basic ideas of the fundamental group and simple homology theory, although explanations throughout the text are numerous and well-done. Written by an internationally known expert in the field, this will appeal to graduate students, mathematicians and physicists with a mathematical background wishing to gain new insights in this area.
Review
W.B.R. Lickorish An Introduction to Knot Theory "This essential introduction to vital areas of mathematics with connections to physics, while intended for graduate students, should fall within the ken of motivated upper-division undergraduates."--CHOICE
Synopsis
This account is an introduction to mathematical knot theory, the theory of knots and links of simple closed curves in three-dimensional space. Knots can be studied at many levels and from many points of view. They can be admired as artifacts of the decorative arts and crafts, or viewed as accessible intimations of a geometrical sophistication that may never be attained. The study of knots can be given some motivation in terms of applications in molecular biology or by reference to paral lels in equilibrium statistical mechanics or quantum field theory. Here, however, knot theory is considered as part of geometric topology. Motivation for such a topological study of knots is meant to come from a curiosity to know how the ge ometry of three-dimensional space can be explored by knotting phenomena using precise mathematics. The aim will be to find invariants that distinguish knots, to investigate geometric properties of knots and to see something of the way they interact with more adventurous three-dimensional topology. The book is based on an expanded version of notes for a course for recent graduates in mathematics given at the University of Cambridge; it is intended for others with a similar level of mathematical understanding. In particular, a knowledge of the very basic ideas of the fundamental group and of a simple homology theory is assumed; it is, after all, more important to know about those topics than about the intricacies of knot theory."
Table of Contents
A beginning for Knot Theory.- Seifert surfaces and knot factorization.- The Jones polynomial.- Geometry of alternating links.- The Jones polynomial of an alternating link.- The Alexander polynomial.- Covering spaces.- The Conway polynomial, signatures and slice knots.- Cylic branched covers and the Goeritz matrix.- The Arf invariant and the Jones polynomial.- The fundamental group.- Obtaining three-manifolds by surgery on S3.- Three-manifold invariants from the Jones polynomial.- Methods for calculating quantum invariants.- Generalizations of the Jones polynomial.- Exploring the HOMFLY and Kauffman polynomials.