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Subfactors and Knots
Vaughan F. R. Jones, University of California, Berkeley, CA
A co-publication of the AMS and CBMS.

CBMS Regional Conference Series in Mathematics
1991; 113 pp; softcover
Number: 80
Reprint/Revision History:
third printing 2000
ISBN-10: 0-8218-0729-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-8218-0729-3
List Price: US$25
Member Price: US$20
All Individuals: US$20
Order Code: CBMS/80
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This book is based on a set of lectures presented by the author at the NSF-CBMS Regional Conference, Applications of Operator Algebras to Knot Theory and Mathematical Physics, held at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis in June 1988. The audience consisted of low-dimensional topologists and operator algebraists, so the speaker attempted to make the material comprehensible to both groups. He provides an extensive introduction to the theory of von Neumann algebras and to knot theory and braid groups. The presentation follows the historical development of the theory of subfactors and the ensuing applications to knot theory, including full proofs of some of the major results. The author treats in detail the Homfly and Kauffman polynomials, introduces statistical mechanical methods on knot diagrams, and attempts an analogy with conformal field theory. Written by one of the foremost mathematicians of the day, this book will give readers an appreciation of the unexpected interconnections between different parts of mathematics and physics.


"This book is a set of lectures by the author on von Neumann algebras, braid groups and invariants of knots and links. Since the author is the person who discovered (in 1984) the extraordinary connections among these subjects, it is delightful to have an exposition of these ideas from him ... a unique resource."

-- Mathematical Reviews

"Even a superficial perusal of the book will teach something. Belongs on every mathematician's shelf."

-- The Bulletin of Mathematics Books and Computer Software

"The author includes an introduction, in his refreshing and very clear style, to the basics of each of these subjects, making these notes very readable also for non-specialists ... These notes are a must for anybody who wants to familiarize himself with this fascinating circle of ideas. But also for the expert they give new insights and present many ideas more clearly than the original articles."

-- Zentralblatt MATH

"Although these lectures were delivered 9 years ago and their subject matter has undergone a very rapid development since then, their informal style, freshness of presentation and unique personal insights on the surprising interconnections between apparently different topics in mathematics and mathematical physics continue to make them compulsory and highly rewarding reading. No reader wishing to gain insight into one of the most exciting mathematical developments of the past 15 years could do better than go straight to these lectures by the master (VFRJ) for inspiration."

-- Monatshefte für Mathematik

Table of Contents

  • von Neumann algebras
  • Group actions and subfactors
  • Values of the index, Virasoro algebra
  • Construction of examples, further structure
  • The braid group and its representations
  • Knots and links
  • The knot polynomial \(V_L\)
  • Knots and statistical mechanics
  • The algebraic approach
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