2014 Stelson Lecture: How quantum theory and statistical mechanics gave a polynomial of knots
September 25, 2014 - 12:35pm
Clary Theater, Student Success Center
We will see how a result in von Neumann algebras (a theory developed by von Neumann to give the mathematical framework for quantum physics) gave rise, rather serendipitously, to an elementary but very useful invariant in the theory of ordinary knots in three dimensional space. Then we'll look at some subsequent developments of the theory, and talk about a thorny problem which remains open.