18.915: Seminar on Algebraic Topology, Fall 2013
Tues, 2:303:30, E17128; Wed, 9:0010:00, E18466A; occasionally Fri,
11:0012:00, TBA
This is a literature seminar, with a focus on classic papers
in Algebraic Topology. Each student will give talks on each
of three papers, chosen in consultation with me,
and will also read all the papers
talked on in a more cursory way, and write brief reactions to them.
As the seminar progresses, students may follow their own interests
to some extent in the choice of papers.
Suggested Papers
A list of appropriate papers can be found
here. I also compiled an ideosyncratic extra list.
But these are merely suggestions. I would love for you to find and select
papers outside of this list, as long as you are consulting me.
Practice talks
Prior to your talk, you are required to arrange a practice talk with
one or more classmates. This is something you should consider always doing
when planning to give a talk.
Attendence
Missing or being late to seminar is not acceptable. Of course, there are
legitimate reasons to miss a seminar  i.e. sickness, religious holiday,
travel...
Responses
For each paper being presented, all seminar participants (except the
speaker) are required to skim the paper and write a response to the
mathematical content of the paper (a paragraphs or more, say), due before
the paper is presented.
Your response should not consist of a
summary of the paper, but rather your reaction to the paper. What did you
think of the methods, what confused you, what do you suppose the author's
motivations were? How does this impact your understanding of the subject?
Class Blog
I have created a class blog. It is a
private blog, meaning that only the seminar participants can access it.
I encourage you to blog about anything class related, and to comment on each
other's postings. The blog also has some links to course materials, like
papers. You can write latex in the blog.
Some resources:
 MathSciNet Find any math
paper and read reviews  sometimes you can even download the article! (This
link works only from MIT or other subscribed computers.)
 Electronic resources from home follow links to VERA
and then JSTOR or MATHSCINET.
VERA also provides electronic access to many current
journals.

Goettinger DigitalisierungsZentrum and follow links to Mathematica.
 NUMDAM freely downloadable
papers from all fo the major french publications.
 For much earlier work, try
la bibliotheque GallicaMath.

For more recent work, there are several electronic archives to consult.
Mark Behrens