What is Chern-Simons theory? I have read the wikipedia entry, but it's pretty physics-y and I wasn't really able to get any sense for what Chern-Simons theory really is in terms of mathematics.
Chern-Simons theory is supposed to be some kind of TQFT. But what kind of TQFT exactly? When mathematicians say that it is a TQFT, does this mean that it's a certain kind of functor from a certain bordism category to a certain target category? If so, what kind of functor is it? What kind of bordism category is it? What kind of target category is it? How exactly is the functor defined?
Also, from attending talks of Michael Freeman, I know that Chern-Simons theory is supposed to describe some aspects of the fractional quantum Hall effect. How does this work? How do I take some sort of Chern-Simons computation on a 3-(or 4-?)manifold and extract from that some kind of physical prediction about some 2d electron gas? I've also heard that Witten has interpretted various knot invariants like the Jones polynomial in terms of Chern-Simons theory. So does this mean that the Jones polynomial of a knot has a physical interpretation? If so, what is it?