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Abstracts for Geometric Topology Workshop
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Special Event
honoring Jim Cannon on the
occasion of his sixtieth birthday
Wednesday June 11, 2003
General Interest Talks 
Ric Ancel 
University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee 
2:00 – 2:50 
A
brief history of geometric topology 
Bill Floyd 
Virginia Polytechnic Institute 
3:00 – 3:50 
Shapes of tiles 
John McCammond 
UC Santa Barbara 
4:00 – 4:50 
Finding parking
when not commuting
Abstract: Certain mathematical structures make a habit of reoccuring
in
the most diverse list of settings. A list of examples might include
the
catalan numbers, the quaternions, and the modular group. In this
talk, I
will focus on a lesser known example which exhibits this intrusive
type of
behavior: the noncrossing partition lattice. The talk will consist
of a
gentle introduction to the lattice itself and three of its many
guises: as
a way to count the parking functions defined by combinatorialists,
as a
key part of the foundations of noncommutative probability, and
as a
building block for a contractible space acted on by the braid groups.
Finally, as the talk is aimed primarily at nonspecialists, all
of the
areas listed above will be introduced as they arise. 
Michael Starbird 
University of Texas, Austin 
5:00 – 5:50 
Shallow Enticements
to Deep Ideas: Bringing Mathematics to the Masses 
Banquet
Honoring Jim Cannon
The Yarrow Hotel
7:00 PM
