# Talk:Dehn surgery

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Mathematics rating:
 Start Class
 Mid Importance
Field:  Topology

Hey, anyone notice that the handle decomposition article has a surgery tag that points to this Dehn surgery article, and that there's no description of vanilla surgery here? Somebody should fix that, eventually... Rybu (talk) 07:24, 7 July 2008 (UTC)

Fixed. There is a surgery theory article, but somebody had linked to the dehn surgery article instead. Rybu (talk) 17:22, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

Also, the Dehn surgery article makes a silly language mistake in that it equates Dehn filling with Dehn surgery. Surgery is what you do to a link in a manifold, filling is the part of the surgery process AFTER you remove the tubular neighbourhood of the link. Rybu (talk) 17:34, 10 July 2008 (UTC)

## Context

A Dehn surgery is a specific construction used to modify 3-manifolds.

Nothing in that even hints to the non-mathematician finding this page that this is not about a medical subject. And the omission of a link to Max Dehn is weird. I've changed it to say:

In topology, a branch of mathematics, a Dehn surgery, named after Max Dehn, is a specific construction used to modify 3-manifolds.

Michael Hardy (talk) 11:39, 1 November 2008 (UTC)

Today I tried to flesh out the article a bit. I mostly added to and restructured the old article. Rybu (talk) 19:20, 1 November 2008 (UTC)
Great! I changed some attributions. First, Dehn did not prove what is often called the Lickorish-Wallace theorem in 1938. AFAIK, none of the standard references credit him with the result. It's true that Lickorish proved the theorem in a way that Dehn could have, but that's no reason to credit it to Dehn. I suppose in his papers somewhere could be a proof; however I doubt this for the following reason. John Stillwell has collected Dehn's classic papers (including the 1938 cited paper) and translated them into English with commentary. He later wrote a book on topology and combinatorial group theory where he explicitly credits Wallace as being the first to prove the surgery result. (I was able to check this latter book on Google Books, but unfortunately not the first) Second, the cobordism result was attributed to Thom (1954) but Rohlin had a paper on it in 1951. I don't know how the attribution is usually done for that, but Gompf and Stipcisz's book credits Rohlin so I went with that. --C S (talk) 16:16, 14 December 2008 (UTC)

Is there any way to get some sort of layman's language in this article? It literally might as well not even be on an encyclopedia if NO ONE can read it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 98.219.50.201 (talk) 03:03, 25 April 2011 (UTC)

There are some mathematical topics that any interested reader could be expected to understand, if only they were written clearly enough, and there are some other topics that one needs a certain level of mathematical sophistication (such as you might get with an undergraduate degree in the subject) to understand. This one is of the latter kind. Sorry. Your best bet when you see an article like this is to click on the bluelinks in the first sentence, and come back when you think you understand what they all mean. That's what they're there for. —David Eppstein (talk) 03:07, 25 April 2011 (UTC)