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"Topological quantum field theory", Michael Atiyah, 1988

Reviewed December 26, 2023

Citation: Atiyah, Michael F. "Topological quantum field theory." Publications Mathématiques de l'IHÉS 68 (1988): 175-186.

Web: https://www.math.ru.nl/~mueger/TQFT/At.pdf

Tags: Physical, Foundational, TQFT

This paper developed an axiomatic treatment of TQFTs, based on the earlier work of Witten:

> Witten, Edward. "Topological quantum field theory." Communications in Mathematical Physics 117.3 (1988): 353-386.

It is important to note that the fact that TQFTs could be axiomatized was not particularly surprising. TQFT is very similar to conformal field theory, and Segal had already proposed an axiomatization of conformal field theory:

> Segal, Graeme B. "The definition of conformal field theory." Differential geometrical methods in theoretical physics. Dordrecht: Springer Netherlands, 1988. 165-171.