Exciting news in academic publishing!
There’s a startup company in the UK, called Flooved, who are on a mission to revolutionize scientific publishing. What sets them apart from many similar-sounding initiatives is that they seem to have a solid business model and they seem to be doing all of the right things, therefore my bet is that they are going to succeed.
What they do is to compile existing lecture notes, handouts and study-guides, and along the lines of the Open Access movement, to make them freely available online. The advantage to students is clear. The advantage to instructors is that more people read and use the material. The advantage to publishers who contribute content (are you listening, big publishing companies?) is that they get precise and useful information on how the students are using their content, and this helps them make informed decisions to put them ahead of the competition. Beyond this, the Flooved model makes education available to people worldwide, including to people who don’t have access to universities. Now, if only they could also provide assessment and accreditation…
I imagine many readers of this blog are familiar with the fact that you can knot a circle in 3-space, but not in 4-space. If you enjoy thinking about why that is true, please read on!
Think of euclidean 3-space, as a linear subspace of euclidean 4-space, . So if you have a knotted circle in 3-space, you can consider it as an embedded circle in 4-space. And you can unknot it! I think one of the simplest explanations of of this would be the idea to push the knot up into the 4-th dimension every time a strand is close to being an overcrossing (in a planar diagram). At this stage you could in effect change the crossing to be anything you want, after you’re done modifying the crossings, you could push the knot back into 3-space to get a different knot.
I have a rather naive question for the participants here. I’m at the Max Planck 4-manifolds semester, currently sitting through many talks about knot concordance and various filtrations of the knot concordance group.
Do any of you have a feeling for how knot concordance should be organized, say if one was looking for some global structure? In the purely 3-dimensional world there are many very “tidy” ways to organize knots and links. There’s the associated 3-manifold, geometrization. There’s double branched covers and equivariant geometrization, arborescent knots and tangle decompositions. I find these perspectives to be rather rich in insights and frequently they’re computable for reasonable-sized objects.
But knot concordance as a field feels much more like the Vassiliev invariant perspective on knots: graded vector spaces of invariants. Typically these vector spaces are very large and it’s difficult to compute anything beyond the simplest objects.
My initial inclination is that if one is looking for elegant structure in knot concordance, perhaps it would be at the level of concordance categories. But what kind of structure would you be looking for on these objects? I don’t think I’ve seen much in the way of natural operations on slice discs or concordances in general, beyond Morse-theoretic cutting and pasting. Have you?
A preprint of Lins and Lins appeared on the arXiv today, posing a challenge [LL]. In this post, I’m going to discuss that challenge, and describe a recent algorithm of Scott–Short [SS] which may point towards an answer.
The Lins–Lins challenge
The theory of 3-manifolds is now very advanced, and we can even say in a certain sense that we understand ‘all’ 3-manifolds (as I discussed in an earlier post). But that understanding is very theoretical; the Lins–Lins challenge is to put this theory into practice.
They ask: ‘Are the two closed, hyperbolic 3-manifolds given by Dehn surgery on the following two framed links homeomorphic?’
(I’ve taken the liberty of copying the diagrams from their paper.)
The place to be in May for a quantum topologist is Vietnam. After some wonderful-sounding mini-courses in Hanoi, the party with move to Nha Trang (dream place to visit) for a quantum topology conference.
I’d like to tell you very briefly about some exciting developments which I expect will be at the centre of the Nha Trang conference, and which I expect may significantly effect the landscape in quantum topology. The preprint in question is -Efficient triangulations and the index of a cusped hyperbolic -manifold by Garoufalidis, Hodgson, Rubinstein, and Segerman (with a list of authors like that, you know it’s got to be good!). (more…)
A paper by Thomas Fiedler has just appeared on arXiv, describing a new link between geometric and quantum topology of knots. http://arxiv.org/abs/1304.0970
This is big news!! (more…)
Kea, whose actual name is Marni D. Shepheard, is a New Zealand physicist and blogger. Her blog, Arcadian Functor was really interesting and educational, and has morphed into Arcadian Omegafunctor, via blogs with intermediate names.
Kea works on the intersection of higher category theory and particle physics, which is niche mathematics combined with niche physics, and as a result has been out of a job for a long time. Marni’s a survivor though (a famous and celebrated survivor, who, together with Sonja Rendell, survived a mountaineering mishap which would have killed the vast majority of us) and she’s been publishing on viXra and continuing to do physics with no funding and often in total abject poverty. It appears to be taking its toll. (more…)
A few months ago, I wrote a blog post about the interesting phenomenon that the tunnel number of a connect sum of two knots may be anywhere from one more than the sum of the tunnel numbers to a relatively small fraction of the sum of the tunnel numbers. Since then, a couple of related papers have been posted to the arXiv, so I thought that justifies another post on the subject. The first preprint I’ll discuss, by João Miguel Nogueira , gives new examples of knots in which the tunnel number degenerates by a large amount. The second paper, by Trent Schirmer  (who is currently a postdoc here at OSU), gives a new bound on the amount tunnel number and Heegaard genus can degenerate by under connect sum/torus gluing, respectively, in certain situations.
A few weeks ago, I started a new blog called The Shape of Data, which will focus on explaining the geometry behind modern data analysis, along the lines of the series of posts I wrote on this blog about a year ago. This involves very basic geometry/topology, so I didn’t think it would appropriate for LDTopology. I will continue to post to LDTopology about pure topology, but today I wanted to write a few words about why I started the new blog and what I hope to accomplish with it.
This past week, Ciprian Manolescu posted a preprint on ArXiv proving (allegedly- I haven’t read the paper beyond the introduction) that the Triangulation Conjecture is false.
-equivariant Seiberg-Witten Floer homology and the Triangulation Conjecture.
This is big news. I feel it’s the last nail in the coffin of the Hauptvermutung. I’d like to tell you a little bit about the conjecture, and about Manolescu’s strategy, and what it has to do with low dimensional topology. (more…)