Entrance hall of the ICMS

Braids in algebra, geometry and topology

May 22, 2017 - May 26, 2017

ICMS, 15 South College Street


Name Institution
Brendle, Tara University of Glasgow
Ellenberg, Jordan University of Wisconsin
Putman, Andrew University of Notre Dame
Ranicki, Andrew University of Edinburgh

Braids are a classical object of study in mathematics and physics. One often first thinks of a braid geometrically, in the sense of “plaits", with a natural group structure. Braids also describe the configuration space of points in a disk or plane; this in turn can be viewed as the space of roots of polynomials over the complex numbers. Hence braids play a prominent role in a wide variety of disciplines including knot theory and low-dimensional topology, number theory, algebraic geometry, geometric group theory, algebraic topology, and mathematical physics. Braid groups also play a huge role in many applied areas such as cryptography, robotics, fluid dynamics, and molecular biology.

The purpose of this workshop is to celebrate the breadth of the topic, with an eye on identifying common problems that admit multiple phrasings and multiple approaches. We will foster collaborations who may use algebro-geometric techniques to solve a problem in braid groups, for example, but we will also promote the use of braids as a common currency through which, say, a problem in algebraic geometry could be solved using techniques from one of the other fields listed above. Our aim is to ensure that a variety of viewpoints on the subject remains a shared experience for practitioners in a variety of fields, at all career stages.

It is anticipated that the following will be speakers at this workshop:

Martin Bridson, Oxford (TBC)
Nigel Boston, University of Wisconsin
Benson Farb, University of Chicago
Robert Ghrist, University of Pennsylvania
Eli Grigsby, Boston College
Richard Hepworth, University of Aberdeen
Eriko Hironaka, American Mathematical Society
Dan Margalit, Georgia Institute of Technology
Ivan Marin, Universite d'Amiens
Gregor Masbaum, Institut de Mathématiques de Jussieu
Luis Paris, Université de Bourgogne
David Roberts, University of Minnesota, Morris
Dale Rolfsen, University of British Columbia
Alex Suciu, Northeastern University
Jean-Luc Thiffeault, University of Wisconsin
Venkataramana, Tata Institute
Karen Vogtmann, University of Warwick
Nathalie Wahl, University of Copenhagen
Craig Westerland, University of Minnesota


It is anticipated that this workshop will commence at around 09.00 on Monday 22 May and close around lunchtime on Friday 26 May 2017.



  • Invited participants were sent an email invitation from ICMS on 17 February 2017.

The workshop will be held at ICMS, 15 South College Street, Edinburgh. 

UK Visas
If you are travelling from overseas you may require an entry visa. A European visa does not guarantee entry to the UK. Please use this link to the UK Visas site to find out if you need a visa and if so how to apply for one. 

Information about travel to the UK and Edinburgh is available here.

Please note that it is your responsibility to have adequate travel insurance to cover medical and other emergencies (volcanic ash disruptions) that may occur on your trip.

A taxi directly from the airport will cost approximately 20.00 to 25.00 GBP to the city centre for a one-way journey.     There is also a bus service direct from the airport to the city centre which will cost 4.50 GBP single or 7.50 GBP return - the Airlink 100.  This is a frequent service (every 10 minutes during peak times) and will bring you close to Waverley Railway Station, only a short walk to the accommodation and the workshop venue (see map in 'Venue' section above). 

Lothian buses charge £1.60 for a single, £4.00 for a day ticket. Please note that the exact fare is required and no change is given.

If travelling by train, please note that Edinburgh has several railway stations - Waverley Railway Station being the main station and closest to the workshop venue at 15 South College Street.  If you alight at Edinburgh Waverley, the workshop venue is an easy 10 minute walk over North and South Bridge. The second large railway station is called Haymarket and is at the West End of the city centre.    Please be aware that there is also an Edinburgh Park railway station but this is at the west side of the city some way from the city centre.  For ICMS, use Edinburgh Waverley.



to be announced


Name Institution
Birman, Joan Columbia University
Chen, Lei University of Chicago
Ciobanu, Laura Heriot-Watt University
Damiani, Celeste Osaka City University
Hornig, Gunnar University of Dundee
Jeffreys, Luke University of Glasgow
Kedra, Jarek University of Aberdeen & University of Szczecin
Koberda, Thomas University of Virginia
Kordek, Kevin Texas A&M University
Marin, Ivan Université d'Amiens
Paris, Luis Université de Bourgogne
Suciu, Alexandru Northeastern University
Thiffeault, Jean-Luc University of Wisconsin
Venkataramana, T.N. Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
Westerland, Craig University of Minnesota
Winarski, Becca University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Wolfson, Jesse The University of Chicago