Braids, links, and mapping class groups:
A conference in Honor of
Joan Birman

Workshops: March 15 and 16, 2005
Main conference: March 17, 2005 - March 20, 2005
Department of Mathematics
Barnard College & Columbia University

Although the subject has been widely studied since the 1975 publication of Birman's book "Braids, Links, and Mapping Class Groups;" this field has seen remarkable growth recently. Research developments on these topics have proceeded at an extraordinary pace in both new directions and using new techniques. This conference is an attempt to gather leading experts in a single forum for a comprehensive meeting on these new directions and methods. A major objective of this conference is to provide an opportunity for cross-fertilization of these blossoming research directions.

Speakers include:

Stephen Bigelow   (U.C. Santa Barbara) Tara Brendle   (Cornell U.) Ruth Charney   (Brandeis U.)
John Crisp   (U. Bourgogne) Benson Farb   (U. Chicago) Yakov Eliashberg   (Stanford U.)
Robion Kirby   (U.C. Berkeley) Alexander Lubotzky   (Hebrew U. Jerusalem) John McCarthy   (Michigan State)
William Menasco   (S.U.N.Y. Buffalo) Lee Mosher   (Rutgers U.) Serguei Novikov   (U. Maryland)
Peter Ozsvath   (Columbia U.) Luis Paris   (U. Bourgogne) Jozef Przytycki   (George Washington U.)
Dale Rolfsen   (U. British Columbia) Colin Rourke   (U. Warwick)


A workshop aimed at graduate students and researchers new to the area will take place on March 15 and 16. These talks will provide an overview of the core areas to be discussed in the main part of the conference. Confirmed speakers include

Nathan Broaddus (Cornell U.) Abhijit Champanerkar (U. South Alabama)
Dan Margalit (U. Utah) Nancy Wrinkle (Northeastern Illinois)

Program and poster

All talks will take place in Mathematics 312.  A current schedule of events can be found here. This will be updated periodically. A color PDF poster can be downloaded here.


All interested participants should register by sending their name, address and affiliation to:

This conference is being partially supported by Barnard College, the Columbia University Mathematics Department, and a grant from the N.S.F.


A banquet is planned for Friday evening at 6:00 pm in Altschul Atrium.

Directions and accomodations

Directions to the mathematics department and some information about accomodations can be found here.

Organizing Committee

Jason Behrstock, Ilya Kofman, Mustafa Korkmaz, Chris Leininger, Walter Neumann

Other Events

The conference is preceded by a conference (overlapping our workshops): Submanifolds, Singular Varieties and Stratified Spaces at the Courant Institute, Sunday March 13 - Wednesday March 16, with a banquet for Julius Shaneson's 60th birthday Sunday March 13. Details and registration here.