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The study of the mapping class group Mod(S) is a classical topic that is experiencing a renaissance. It lies at the juncture of geometry, topology, and group theory. This book explains as many important theorems, examples, and techniques as possible, quickly and directly, while at the same time giving full details and keeping the text nearly self-contained. The book is suitable for graduate students. A Primer on Mapping Class Groups begins by explaining the main group-theoretical properties of Mod(S), from finite generation by Dehn twists and low-dimensional homology to the Dehn-Nielsen-Baer theorem. Along the way, central objects and tools are introduced, such as the Birman exact sequence, the complex of curves, the braid group, the symplectic representation, and the Torelli group. The book then introduces Teichmüller space and its geometry, and uses the action of Mod(S) on it to prove the Nielsen-Thurston classification of surface homeomorphisms. Topics include the topology of the moduli space of Riemann surfaces, the connection with surface bundles, pseudo-Anosov theory, and Thurston's approach to the classification.
A comprehensive introduction to selected aspects of modern low-dimensional topology for readers with a knowledge of basic algebra.
This text on contact topology is a comprehensive introduction to the subject, including recent striking applications in geometric and differential topology: Eliashberg's proof of Cerf's theorem via the classification of tight contact structures on the 3-sphere, and the Kronheimer-Mrowka proof of property P for knots via symplectic fillings of contact 3-manifolds. Starting with the basic differential topology of contact manifolds, all aspects of 3-dimensional contact manifolds are treated in this book. One notable feature is a detailed exposition of Eliashberg's classification of overtwisted contact structures. Later chapters also deal with higher-dimensional contact topology. Here the focus is on contact surgery, but other constructions of contact manifolds are described, such as open books or fibre connected sums. This book serves both as a self-contained introduction to the subject for advanced graduate students and as a reference for researchers.
This book provides a detailed exposition of William Thurston's work on surface homeomorphisms, available here for the first time in English. Based on material of Thurston presented at a seminar in Orsay from 1976 to 1977, it covers topics such as the space of measured foliations on a surface, the Thurston compactification of Teichmüller space, the Nielsen-Thurston classification of surface homeomorphisms, and dynamical properties of pseudo-Anosov diffeomorphisms. Thurston never published the complete proofs, so this text is the only resource for many aspects of the theory. Thurston was awarded the prestigious Fields Medal in 1982 as well as many other prizes and honors, and is widely regarded to be one of the major mathematical figures of our time. Today, his important and influential work on surface homeomorphisms is enjoying continued interest in areas ranging from the Poincaré conjecture to topological dynamics and low-dimensional topology. Conveying the extraordinary richness of Thurston's mathematical insight, this elegant and faithful translation from the original French will be an invaluable resource for the next generation of researchers and students.
The seminal ideas of this book played a key role in the development of group theory since the 70s. Several generations of mathematicians learned geometric ideas in group theory from this book. In it, the author proves the fundamental theorem for the special cases of free groups and tree products before dealing with the proof of the general case. This new edition is ideal for graduate students and researchers in algebra, geometry and topology.
The theory of characteristic classes provides a meeting ground for the various disciplines of differential topology, differential and algebraic geometry, cohomology, and fiber bundle theory. As such, it is a fundamental and an essential tool in the study of differentiable manifolds. In this volume, the authors provide a thorough introduction to characteristic classes, with detailed studies of Stiefel-Whitney classes, Chern classes, Pontrjagin classes, and the Euler class. Three appendices cover the basics of cohomology theory and the differential forms approach to characteristic classes, and provide an account of Bernoulli numbers. Based on lecture notes of John Milnor, which first appeared at Princeton University in 1957 and have been widely studied by graduate students of topology ever since, this published version has been completely revised and corrected.
This book is an introduction to the remarkable work of Vaughan Jones and Victor Vassiliev on knot and link invariants and its recent modifications and generalizations, including a mathematical treatment of Jones-Witten invariants. It emphasizes the geometric aspects of the theory and treats topics such as braids, homeomorphisms of surfaces, surgery of 3-manifolds (Kirby calculus), and branched coverings. This attractive geometric material, interesting in itself yet not previously gathered in book form, constitutes the basis of the last two chapters, where the Jones-Witten invariants are constructed via the rigorous skein algebra approach (mainly due to the Saint Petersburg school). Unlike several recent monographs, where all of these invariants are introduced by using the sophisticated abstract algebra of quantum groups and representation theory, the mathematical prerequisites are minimal in this book. Numerous figures and problems make it suitable as a course text and for self-study.

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