Mathematics – Geometric Topology
Final version. 11 pages. To appear in Algebraic & Geometric Topology
It is known that every oriented integral homology 3-sphere can be obtained from S^3 by a finite sequence of Borromean surgeries. We give an explicit formula for the variation of the Casson invariant under such a surgery move. The formula involves simple classical invariants, namely the framing, linking number and Milnor's triple linking number. A more general statement, for n independent Borromean surgeries, is also provided, which involves an additional cubic expression in some linking numbers of the surgery link.
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