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Is "Kirby's Problem List" fairly familiar to Knot Theorists?

  1. Dec 16, 2015 #1
    I refer to the list here: https://math.berkeley.edu/~kirby/ entitled "Problems in Low-Dimensional Topology"

    Question says it all. I am giving a graduate level presentation to a group that includes some knot theorists. (I believe the collective term for knot theorists is a "tangle" :oldbiggrin:) and I'm just wondering if this list is just one person's collection or a well known collection that keeps knot theorists up at night. The research I am presenting (not my own) answers affirmatively one of the questions in the list.

    (For those who don't know, it is a huge list, about 380 pages, which has been growing since 1995).


    Dave K
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 21, 2015 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    My belated suggestion is to talk to one of the knot theorists who will be coming and ask him/her about it.

    Alternatively, you could check if any knot theorist has referenced the list a a paper on arxiv.org or any other peer reviewed site you have access to.

    I did find it on on MathWorld:


    and I found these references on arxiv.org




    from google search:


    So why not assume they know about it but provide a reference to it anyway.
  4. Dec 21, 2015 #3
    Thanks for looking into it so thoroughly! Since my original post, I did in fact ask one of them (the person who is mentoring me for the presentation). The short answer was "sort of." The list is extremely long and has many problems not related to knot theory.

    Also, there is a shorter list, maintained by Colin Adams (Author of the very accessible "Knot Book")

    Some of the problems look tantalizingly accessible!

    Anyway, given what we know now, I believe I should at least explain what the list is, but assume that some people may know what it is.


    Dave K
  5. Jan 21, 2016 #4
    This list is very long and has been updated repeatedly for many years. Many knot theorists know of its existence, but it is very unlikely that they could just rattle off the knot theory problems on Kirby's list, other than the most famous ones or the ones they are specializing in.
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