Abstract

The classical matrix-tree theorem allows us to list the spanning trees of a graph by monomials in the expansion of the determinant of a certain matrix. We prove that in the case of three-graphs (i.e., hypergraphs whose edges have exactly three vertices), the spanning trees are generated by the Pfaffian of a suitably defined matrix. This result can be interpreted topologically as an expression for the lowest order term of the Alexander-Conway polynomial of an algebraically split link. We also prove some algebraic properties of our Pfaffian-tree polynomial.

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