The Many Strands of the Braid Groups (07w5104)

Arriving in Banff, Alberta Sunday, April 22 and departing Friday April 27, 2007


(Barnard College, Columbia University)

(University of Caen)

Roger Fenn (University of Sussex)

Vaughan Jones (Vanderbilt University)

(University of British Columbia)


Because of their various interpretations, the braid groups are studied from many points of view and have generalizations in several different directions. The purpose of the proposed workshop is to bring together experts in the various aspects of this study, to forge new collaborations and advance the theory of braids. A second objective is the participation of young researchers, introducing them to new ideas and people. Among the areas represented by the participants are: applications to knot theory and manifolds of dimension 3 and 4, dynamics, TQFT -- including Khovanov homology, Kontsevich integrals, etc., representation theory and other algebraic aspects of braid groups, C*- and
planar algebras, algebraic geometry, group cohomology, computational and algorithmic issues.

The proposed workshop can be considered, at least informally, in the spirit of the French "Autour des tresses" program, sponsored by the CNRS and other agencies, in which experts gather several times annually for conferences devoted to the braid groups. For geographic reasons, it will have a much greater ratio of North American participants. We point out that the theory of braids is fortunate in that it has attracted many talented women to its study. This is reflected in the participant list, which also includes quite a few young researchers, in addition to the more seasoned experts.

Dedicated to the memory of Professor Xiao-Song Lin
July 27, 1957 - January 14, 2007