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4-Manifolds and Kirby Calculus (Graduate Studies in Mathematics) Hardcover – August 1, 1999

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Editorial Reviews


This book is important and valuable in that both gives a comprehensive and accessible picture of an area which has developed rapidly in the past 20 years and also provides readers with techniques to begin research in the field. The book is pedagogically very strong, with many examples and exercises. The material will not go out of date, and however the field may develop in the future, this will be an important reference for many years to come. --Bulletin of the London Mathematical Society

This book gives an excellent introduction into the theory of -manifolds and can be strongly recommended to beginners in this field ... carefully and clearly written; the authors have evidently paid great attention to the presentation of the material ... contains many really pretty and interesting examples and a great number of exercises; the final chapter is then devoted to solutions of some of these ... this type of presentation makes the subject more attractive and its study easier. --European Mathematical Society Newsletter

A complete record of the folklore related to handle calculus ... All of the mathematical statements are given in absolutely precise language, and the notation and terminology used are well chosen ... a very comprehensive book ... Most low-dimensional topologists will want to have access to this as a reference book ... any student ... will be rewarded with a thorough understanding of this fascinating field. --Bulletin of the AMS

From the Publisher

I greatly recommend this wonderful book to any researcher in 4-manifold topology for the novel ideas, techniques, constructions, and computations on the topic, presented in a very fascinating way. I think really that every student, mathematician, and researcher interested in 4-manifold topology, should own a copy of this beautiful book.

Zentralblatt f\"ur Mathematik


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Product Details

  • Series: Graduate Studies in Mathematics (Book 20)
  • Hardcover: 558 pages
  • Publisher: American Mathematical Society (August 31, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0821809946
  • ISBN-13: 978-0821809945
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 7.5 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #768,968 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Lee D. Carlson HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on October 28, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Readers familiar with the proof of Stephen Smale's proof of the high-dimensional Poincare conjecture will know that handle calculus was employed in the proof. This book is an overview of Kirby calculus, which is essentially handle calculus in dimensions less than or equal to four.
Kirby calculus can be used to describe four-dimensional manifolds such as elliptic surfaces, and gives a pictorial description of its handle decomposition. Its utility lies further than this however, as Kirby calculus has been used to answer questions that would have been very difficult otherwise.
The book begins with a very quick overview of the algebraic topology and gauge theory of four-dimensional manifolds. Readers not familiar with this material will have to consult other books or papers on the subject.
Part two takes up Kirby calculus, and handle decompositions are described with examples given for disk bundles over surfaces and tori. Handle moves are employed as processes that allow one to go from one description of a manifold to another. Handlebody descriptions are given for spin manifolds, and more exotic topics, such as Casson handles and branched covers are treated.
Part 3 of the book uses techniques from algebraic geometry to describe branched covers of algebraic surfaces. Handle decompositions of Lefschetz fibrations are given, and its is shown that a Stein structure on a manifold is completely described by a handle diagram. There is also a thorough discussion of exotic structures on Euclidean 4-space. In spite of the non-constructive nature of these results, namely that no explicit example of an exotic structure is given, the discussion is a fascinating one and has recently been shown to be important in physics.
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3 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Francisco A. Doria on September 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Actually I was looking for loose ends - things that do not appear in Scorpan's _The Wild World of 4-Manifolds_, like the Buzaca construction of exotic R4s, or the construction of an ``universal'' R4, and I found it it Gompf's book.

(In fact I'm interested in exotic forcing-generic R4s and their import, if any, in General Relativity. Truly wild beasts...)

Francisco Antonio Doria
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Roger Bagula on June 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I got this book on inter-library loan as it
is very expensive.
For me this doesn't deliver Kirby calculus as
claimed. It does give a vague impressing of what Kirby calculus might
be if presented as an axiomatic approach.
What is needed is a simple approach to very simple
totally defined manifolds.
A very old book gives a better starting point:
Topology of 3-Manifolds and Related Topics (Dover Books on Mathematics)
The books isn't clear about gluing, surgery and other
manipulations of manifolds in a way that can be picked up
in a two week loan period. Since I'm not really very new
at this, when I say you can't get it "easy" here,
I mean that if you buy the book
and spend full time for a long period reading and rereading
it might actually teach you some Kirby calculus.
The book isn't organized as a teacher,
but is very good at showing off the author's
knowledge which seems to be the main purpose?
Now I have to look for something better on Kirby calculus: maybe?
The Topology of 4-Manifolds (Lecture Notes in Mathematics / Nankai Institute of Mathematics, Tianjin, P.R. China (closed))
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5 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Darunee Suwannakoon on June 13, 2000
Format: Hardcover
If you really into mathematics, this book is for you. It contains comprehensive explanation of the Kirby calculas. The complexity of this book require graduate level mathematics knowleadge as a prerequisite. It describes in the detail of a closed 4-manifold which admits a finite decomposition into geometric pieces of finite volume. It also consider the homotopy types of closed 4-manifolds which are Seifert fibred or which are the total spaces of bundles with base and fibre closed aspherical surfaces.
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