This text features a careful treatment of flow lines and algebraic invariants in contact form geometry, a vast area of research connected to symplectic field theory, pseudo-holomorphic curves, and Gromov-Witten invariants (contact homology). In particular, it develops a novel algebraic tool in this field: rooted in the concept of critical points at infinity, the new algebraic invariants defined here are useful in the investigation of contact structures and Reeb vector fields. The book opens with a review of prior results and then proceeds through an examination of variational problems, non-Fredholm behavior, true and false critical points at infinity, and topological implications. An increasing convergence with regular and singular Yamabe-type problems is discussed, and the intersection between contact form and Riemannian geometry is emphasized. Rich in open problems and full, detailed proofs, this work lays the foundation for new avenues of study in contact form geometry and will benefit graduate students and researchers.
In algebraic topology some classical invariants - such as Betti numbers and Reidemeister torsion - are defined for compact spaces and finite group actions. They can be generalized using von Neumann algebras and their traces, and applied also to non-compact spaces and infinite groups. These new L2-invariants contain very interesting and novel information and can be applied to problems arising in topology, K-Theory, differential geometry, non-commutative geometry and spectral theory. It is particularly these interactions with different fields that make L2-invariants very powerful and exciting. The book presents a comprehensive introduction to this area of research, as well as its most recent results and developments. It is written in a way which enables the reader to pick out a favourite topic and to find the result she or he is interested in quickly and without being forced to go through other material.
This book provides an extensive and self-contained presentation of quantum and related invariants of knots and 3-manifolds. Polynomial invariants of knots, such as the Jones and Alexander polynomials, are constructed as quantum invariants, i.e. invariants derived from representations of quantum groups and from the monodromy of solutions to the Knizhnik-Zamolodchikov equation. With the introduction of the Kontsevich invariant and the theory of Vassiliev invariants, the quantum invariants become well-organized. Quantum and perturbative invariants, the LMO invariant, and finite type invariants of 3-manifolds are discussed. The Chern-Simons field theory and the Wess-Zumino-Witten model are described as the physical background of the invariants.