Is the Abstract Mathematics of Topology Applicable to the Real World?

Robert D. MacPherson; Randall D. Kamien; Raúl Rabadán
Hermann Weyl Professor, School of Mathematics; University of Pennsylvania; Columbia University
May 1, 2015
Topology is the only major branch of modern mathematics that wasn't anticipated by the ancient mathematicians. Throughout most of its history, topology has been regarded as strictly abstract mathematics, without applications. However, illustrating Wigner's principle of "the unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics in the natural sciences", topology is now beginning to come up in our understanding of many different real world phenomena.