Topological Quantum Field Theories - mini-course

7 talks
Collection Number C23048
Collection Type Course

A quantum field theory is deemed topological if it exhibits the remarkable property of being independent of any background metric. In contrast to most other types of quantum field theories, topological quantum field theories possess a well-defined mathematical framework, tracing its roots back to the pioneering work of Atiyah in 1988. The mathematical tools employed to define and study topological quantum field theories encompass concepts from category theory, homotopy theory, topology, and algebra.
In this course, we will delve into the mathematical foundations of this field, explore examples and classification results, especially in lower dimensions. Subsequently, we will explore more advanced aspects, such as invertible theories, defects, the cobordism hypothesis, or state sum models in dimensions 3 and 4 (including Turaev-Viro and Douglas-Reutter models), depending on the interests of the audience.
Today, the mathematics of topological quantum field theories has found numerous applications in physics. Recent applications include the study of anomalies, non-invertible symmetries, the classification of topological phases of matter, and lattice models. The course aims to provide the necessary background for understanding these applications.

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