The triangulation of manifolds

Prof. F. Quinn (Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State Universit)

Friday 10th May, 2013 14:00-15:00 Mathematics 417


The triangulation questions (Knaser 1924) are: can every topological manifold be triangulated as a polyhedron, and is this triangulation essentially unique?  At the time these seemed absolutely essential. By 1950 it was realized that the technically important  questions concern triangulation as PL manifolds, not unconstrained triangulation, and this version was settled by Kirby and Siebenmann in 1970. The original version remained as an intriguing question and a difficult technical challenge, however, and the last  piece of the puzzle finally fell into place this year.

The lecture will relate some of the curious history of the problem, and a provide clean modern formulation of the final result.

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