Dror Bar-Natan makes the following announcement:

Dear Friends,

With help from my students, in the next semester I will be running the “wClips Seminar”, which will be a combination of a class, a seminar, and an experiment. We will meeting on Wednesdays at noon starting January 11, 2012 – follow us on http://www.math.toronto.edu/drorbn/papers/WKO/!

The “class” part of this affair is that we will slowly and systematically go over my in-progress joint paper with Zsuzsanna Dancso, “Finite Type Invariants of W-Knotted Objects: From Alexander to Kashiwara and Vergne” (short “WKO”, and again see http://www.math.toronto.edu/drorbn/papers/WKO/), section by section, lemma by lemma, and covering all necessary prerequisites as they arise.

The “seminar” component is the usual. Occasionally people other than me will be telling the story.

The “experiment” part is that every lecture will be video taped and every blackboard will be photographed and everything will be immediately put on the WKO website, so that at the end we will have along with the paper a “video companion” – series of video clips explaining every bit of it. The paper will be mathematically self-contained, yet in addition every section thereof will include a link/reference to the corresponding clip in its video companion. And every video clip will have its written counterpart in one of the sections of the paper.

Feel free to follow almost in real time! Also, please let me know if you want to be added to the wClips mailing list.

Best,

Dror.

This sounds like a most interesting experiment- adding a video and a seminar to a paper seems like a good way to get people to read and to understand it! I wish more papers came with videos and seminars.

The content itself also seems interesting to me. Quantum topology of tangles is notoriously hard, because it is based on the Kontsevich invariant (the universal finite-type invariant) which is an extremely sophisticated piece of mathematics which is difficult to understand and to make polynomial-time calculations with. W-knotted objects are a generalization of tangles, for which the universal finite-type invariant is much simpler, and for which polynomial-time calculations are possible. I’m looking forward to hearing all about them on wClips!

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