Abstract: After recalling what quasi Hopf algebras are and what Chern Simons theory is, we will explain that in a certain sense, they are one and the same. This has significant implications for the theory of quasi Hopf algebras, as it implies that their prized object, the associator, is a 3-dimensional object rather than merely a braid-like 1-dimensional construct. If time will allow, we will also discuss some speculative implications to Chern Simons theory.
The talk will be about joint work of Dylan Thurston and myself, though the former should not be held liable for all that will not make sense.
This abstract is at http://www.math.toronto.edu/~drorbn/Talks/CalTech-000221/.
Handout: PDF (394K) PS (829K).