Alternating surgeries

McCoy, Duncan (2016) Alternating surgeries. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Full text available as:
[thumbnail of 2016CoyPhD.pdf] PDF
Download (880kB)
Printed Thesis Information:


This thesis is concerned with the question of when the double branched cover of an alternating knot can arise by Dehn surgery on a knot in S^3. We approach this problem using a surgery obstruction, first developed by Greene, which combines Donaldson's Diagonalization Theorem with the $d$-invariants of Ozsvath and Szabo's Heegaard Floer homology. This obstruction shows that if the double branched cover of an alternating knot or link L arises by surgery on S^3, then for any alternating diagram the lattice associated to the Goeritz matrix takes the form of a changemaker lattice. By analyzing the structure of changemaker lattices, we show that the double branched cover of L arises by non-integer surgery on S^3 if and only if L has an alternating diagram which can be obtained by rational tangle replacement on an almost-alternating diagram of the unknot. When one considers half-integer surgery the resulting tangle replacement is simply a crossing change. This allows us to show that an alternating knot has unknotting number one if and only if it has an unknotting crossing in every alternating diagram.

These techniques also produce several other interesting results: they have applications to characterizing slopes of torus knots; they produce a new proof for a theorem of Tsukamoto on the structure of almost-alternating diagrams of the unknot; and they provide several bounds on surgeries producing the double branched covers of alternating knots which are direct generalizations of results previously known for lens space surgeries. Here, a rational number p/q is said to be characterizing slope for K in S^3 if the oriented homeomorphism type of the manifold obtained by p/q-surgery on K determines K uniquely.

The thesis begins with an exposition of the changemaker surgery obstruction, giving an amalgamation of results due to Gibbons, Greene and the author. It then gives background material on alternating knots and changemaker lattices. The latter part of the thesis is then taken up with the applications of this theory.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Knots, links, Dehn surgery, 3-manifolds, alternating knots, unknotting numbers, Heegaard Floer homology, double branched covers.
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Mathematics and Statistics > Mathematics
Supervisor's Name: Owens, Dr. Brendan
Date of Award: 2016
Depositing User: Duncan McCoy
Unique ID: glathesis:2016-7396
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2016 15:23
Last Modified: 13 Jul 2016 08:31

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year