Józef H. Przytycki

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

In 1987, he and Pawel Traczyk published a paper,[1] which 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 written in 1989 and published in 1991;[2] see also his entry in the online Encyclopedia of Mathematics.[3]

A native of Poland, Przytycki received a Master of Science degree in mathematics from Warsaw University in 1977 and, after emigrating to the United States, a Ph.D. in mathematics from Columbia University, where his advisor was Joan Birman. He is currently a professor of mathematics at George Washington University in Washington, DC. According to the Mathematics Genealogy Project, he has supervised 13 Ph.D. students (as of 2019).[4] He has authored and co-authored many mathematical publications, including more than 100 research papers, 25 conference proceedings and 2 books, having over 1,400 citations on MathSciNet.[5]

Every semester since 1995, Przytycki has co-organized the conference Knots in Washington. 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).

Józef Przytycki is married to computational biologist and mathematician Teresa Przytycka (born 1958). Their elder son Tomasz was born November 11, 1987; their younger son Pawel was born December 1, 1989.


  1. Przytycki, Józef H.; Traczyk, Pawel (1987). "Invariants of links of Conway type". Kobe Journal of Mathematics. 4: 115−139. MR 0945888.
  2. 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.
  3. "Skein module". Encyclopedia of Mathematics.
  4. Józef H. Przytycki at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  5. "Józef H. Przytycki". MathSciNet. Retrieved September 22, 2019.
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