Józef H. Przytycki

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Józef Przytycki
Józef Przytycki at Oberwolfach in 2008
Born(1953-10-14)October 14, 1953
Alma materUniversity of Warsaw
Columbia University
Known forHOMFLYPT polynomial
Skein modules
SpouseTeresa Przytycka
Scientific career
InstitutionsGeorge Washington University
ThesisIncompressible Surfaces in 3-Manifolds (1981)
Doctoral advisorJoan Birman

Józef Henryk Przytycki (/ˈjuːsəf pʃəˈtɪski/, Polish: [ˈjuzɛf pʂɨˈtɨt͡skʲi]; born 14 October 1953 in Warsaw, Poland), is a Polish mathematician specializing in the fields of knot theory and topology.

Academic background[edit]

Przytycki received a Master of Science degree in mathematics from University of Warsaw in 1977 and a PhD in mathematics from Columbia University (1981) advised by Joan Birman. Przytycki then returned to Poland, where he became an assistant professor at the University of Warsaw. From 1986 to 1995 he held visiting positions at the University of British Columbia, the University of Toronto, Michigan State University, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, the University of California, Riverside, Odense University, and the University of California, Berkeley.

In 1995 he joined the Mathematics Department at George Washington University in Washington, D.C., where he became a professor in 1999.[1] According to the Mathematics Genealogy Project, he has supervised 16 PhD students (as of 2022).[2]


Przytycki co-authored more than 100 research papers, 25 conference proceedings and 2 books.[3]

In 1987, Przytycki and Pawel Traczyk published a paper[4] that included a description of what is now called the HOMFLY(PT) polynomial. Postal delays prevented Przytycki and Traczyk from receiving full recognition alongside the other six discoverers. Przytycki also introduced skein modules in a paper published in 1991;[5] see also his entry in the online Encyclopedia of Mathematics.[6]

Przytycki has co-organized the conference Knots in Washington each semester since 1995. He also co-organized several international Knot Theory conferences in Europe, for example Knots in Poland (1995, 2003 and 2010), Knots in Hellas (1998 and 2016), and the Advanced School and Conference on Knot Theory and its Applications to Physics and Biology, Trieste, Italy (2009).

Personal life[edit]

Józef Przytycki is married to computational biologist and mathematician Teresa Przytycka (born 1958). They have two sons.[1]


  1. ^ a b Józef Henryk Przytycki (December 2018). "Curriculum Vitae" (PDF). Retrieved July 11, 2020.
  2. ^ Józef H. Przytycki at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  3. ^ "Józef H. Przytycki". MathSciNet. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
  4. ^ Przytycki, Józef H.; Traczyk, Pawel (1987). "Invariants of links of Conway type". Kobe Journal of Mathematics. 4: 115–139. MR 0945888.
  5. ^ Przytycki, Józef H. (1991). "Skein modules of 3-manifolds". Bulletin of the Polish Academy of Sciences. Mathematics. 39 (1–2): 91–100. arXiv:math/0602264. MR 1194712.
  6. ^ "Skein module". Encyclopedia of Mathematics.

External links[edit]