Ribbon disks for the square knot

Geometry Topology Seminar
Monday, April 1, 2024 - 4:30pm for 1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Georgia Tech
Alex Zupan – University of Nebraska - Lincoln
Hannah Turner

A knot K in S^3 is (smoothly) slice if K is the boundary of a properly embedded disk D in B^4, and K is ribbon if this disk can be realized without any local maxima with respect to the radial Morse function on B^4. In dimension three, a knot K with nice topology – that is, a fibered knot – bounds a unique fiber surface up to isotopy. Thus, it is natural to wonder whether this sort of simplicity could extend to the set of ribbon disks for K, arguably the simplest class of surfaces bounded by a knot in B^4. Surprisingly, we demonstrate that the square knot, one of the two non-trivial ribbon knots with the lowest crossing number, bounds infinitely many distinct ribbon disks up to isotopy. This is joint work with Jeffrey Meier.