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This is a biography and a report on the work of Vladimir Turaev. Using fundamental techniques that are rooted in classical topology, Turaev introduced new ideas and tools that transformed the field of knots and links and invariants of 3-manifolds. He is one of the main founders of the new topic called quantum topology. In surveying Turaev’s work, this article will give at the same time an overview of an important part of the intense activity in low-dimensional topology that took place over the last 45 years, with its connections with mathematical physics.