Event № 298
Starting from a word in the standard generators in the mapping class group of a surface, we construct a weighted planar graph. Braid relations in the mapping class group correspond to the well-known Y-Delta transform of electric networks. Heegaard decompositions of closed 3-manifolds lead to similar planar graphs.
Counting critical points and closed orbits of discrete vector fields on such a graph, we obtain simple formulas for some celebrated 3-manifold invariants. A combinatorial counterpart of a certain complicated duality (between Chern-Simons theory and closed strings on a resolved conifold) turn out to be a generalization of the Matrix-Tree Theorem.
(This is an extended version of my IMU talk.)