Snapshots of Modern Mathematics

Snapshots of modern mathematics from Oberwolfach, ISSN 2626-1995, explain mathematical problems and ideas of present relevance in an accessible and understandable way. They provide exciting insights into current topics of the mathematical community for everyone who is interested in modern mathematics, although varying in difficulty.

The snapshots are written by participants of the scientific program at the MFO, who volunteer to explain an important aspect of their research. A team of editors selects the manuscripts that are most suitable for a broad readership and assists the authors in communicating complicated matters to a broad audience. In some cases, the authors are asked to submit their manuscript to a journal for more advanced readers. The MFO publishes the snapshots for free download under a Creative Commons license here and on the IMAGINARY platform.

The snapshot project is designed to promote the understanding and appreciation of modern mathematics and mathematical research in the interested public world-wide. The targeted readership consists of mathematics teachers, science journalists, undergraduate and advanced high school students. If you are interested in writing a snapshot, please contact the organizers of the program in which you are participating. We ask all interested authors to carefully read the guidelines for snapshots, which also provide information on our editorial process and our editorial policy.

Editors' choice

No. 11/2019: Configuration spaces and braid groups

by Rita Jiménez Rolland and Miguel A. Xicoténcatl

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In this snapshot we introduce configuration spaces and explain how a mathematician studies their ‘shape’. This will lead us to consider paths of configurations and braid groups, and to explore how algebraic properties of these groups determine features of the spaces.

More information on this topic: Thomas Kahle and Petra Schwer produced the episode "Zöpfe" ("Braids", in German) in their podcast "Pi ist genau 3". They explain how to get from hospital robots via braid groups to platonic solids.

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