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Knots, Surfaces and 3-manifolds

20th June 2021   -   25th June 2021
Oaxaca, Mexico


A mathematical knot can be thought of as a piece of knotted string with ends attached. This knotted circle is allowed to move freely in space as long as it does not pass through itself. In recent years the study of knots has gained momentum through a series of applications, for instance in physics and in molecular biology. Such applications bring new urgency to certain classical questions pertaining to knots and how they sit inside 3-dimensional space. Much like a knotted wand dipped into liquid soap will bound a bubble, mathematical knots sitting in 3-dimensional space bound surfaces. Studying pairs of the form (knot, surface) sitting in 3-dimensional space rather than just knots, provides additional structure to better grasp basic questions, such as whether or not a given knot can be untangled and if so how.