52nd annual Topology Festival held

Cornell's Topology Festival may be the longest running annual conference on a specific topic in math in the United States. The 52nd Topology Festival was held May 13-15 in Mallott Hall, with speakers from Israel, Germany, Sweden, and across the United States addressing topics in topological combinatorics.


Conference speaker Greg Kuperberg, University of California at Davis. Photos by Melissa Totman.

“Topology is the study of curves and surfaces,” explains Ravi Ramakrishna, chair and professor of mathematics. “For instance, while it seems obvious from just looking that a donut and a sphere are different, it requires deep mathematics to verify this.”

Cornell has a long history of excellence in topology and the related field of geometry. As an example, Ramakrishna points to the work of former Cornell professors Richard Hamilton and the late William Thurston, who laid the groundwork for the solution of the 100 year old Poincare Conjecture.

The Topology Festival was supported by the National Science Foundation, as it has been every year, and by prize donor Acme Klein Bottle, purveyors of what organizers of the conference playfully call “the finest closed, non-orientable, boundary-free manifolds sold anywhere in our three spatial dimensions.”

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