Past Algebra Seminar

26 February 2013
Alessandro Sisto

I will discuss similarities and differences between the geometry of
relatively hyperbolic groups and that of mapping class groups.
I will then discuss results about random walks on such groups that can
be proven using their common geometric features, namely the facts that
generic elements of (non-trivial) relatively hyperbolic groups are
hyperbolic, generic elements in mapping class groups are pseudo-Anosovs
and random paths of length $n$ stay $O(\log(n))$-close to geodesics in
(non-trivial) relatively hyperbolic groups and
$O(\sqrt{n}\log(n))$-close to geodesics in mapping class groups.

12 February 2013
Alex Gorodnik

We discuss the problem to what extend a group action determines geometry of the space. 
More precisely, we show that for a large class of actions measurable isomorphisms must preserve 
the geometric structure as well. This is a joint work with Bader, Furman, and Weiss.

29 January 2013
Yago Antolin Pichel

I will introduce the notion of Kurosh rank for subgroups of 
free products. This rank satisfies the Howson property, i.e. the 
intersection of two subgroups of finite Kurosh rank has finite Kurosh rank.
I will present a version of the Strengthened Hanna Neumann inequality in 
the case of free products of right-orderable groups. Joint work with  A. 
Martino and I. Schwabrow.

15 January 2013
Peter Kropholler

The homological dimension of a group can be computed over any coefficient ring $K$.
It has long been known that if a soluble group has finite homological dimension over $K$
then it has finite Hirsch length and the Hirsch length is an upper bound for the homological
dimension. We conjecture that equality holds: i.e. the homological dimension over $K$ is
equal to the Hirsch length whenever the former is finite. At first glance this conjecture looks
innocent enough. The conjecture is known when $K$ is taken to be the integers or the field
of rational numbers. But there is a gap in the literature regarding finite field coefficients.
We'll take a look at some of the history of this problem and then show how some new near complement
and near supplement theorems for minimax groups can be used to establish the conjecture
in special cases. I will conclude by speculating what may be required to solve the conjecture outright.

14 December 2012
Tsachik Gelander

I'll discuss some results about lattices in totally
disconnected locally compact groups, elaborating on the question:
which classical results for lattices in Lie groups can be extended to
general locally compact groups. For example, in contrast to Borel's
theorem that every simple Lie group admits (many) uniform and
non-uniform lattices, there are totally disconnected simple groups
with no lattices. Another example concerns with the theorem of Mostow
that lattices in connected solvable Lie groups are always uniform.
This theorem cannot be extended for general locally compact groups,
but variants of it hold if one implants sufficient assumptions. At
least 90% of what I intend to say is taken from a paper and an
unpublished preprint written jointly with P.E. Caprace, U. Bader and
S. Mozes. If time allows, I will also discuss some basic properties
and questions regarding Invariant Random Subgroups.

14 December 2012
Benjamin Klopsch

Let G be a simply connected, solvable Lie group and Γ a lattice in G. The deformation space D(Γ,G) is the orbit space associated to the action of Aut(G) on the space X(Γ,G) of all lattice embeddings of Γ into G. Our main result generalises the classical rigidity theorems of Mal'tsev and Saitô for lattices in nilpotent Lie groups and in solvable Lie groups of real type. We prove that the deformation space of every Zariski-dense lattice Γ in G is finite and Hausdorff, provided that the maximal nilpotent normal subgroup of G is connected.  I will introduce all necessary notions and try to motivate and explain this result.

27 November 2012
Mark Wildon
Let G be a permutation group acting on a set Omega. For g in G, let pi(g) denote the partition of Omega given by the orbits of g. The set of all partitions of Omega is naturally ordered by refinement and admits lattice operations of meet and join. My talk concerns the groups G such that the partitions pi(g) for g in G form a sublattice. This condition is highly restrictive, but there are still many interesting examples. These include centralisers in the symmetric group Sym(Omega) and a class of profinite abelian groups which act on each of their orbits as a subgroup of the Prüfer group. I will also describe a classification of the primitive permutation groups of finite degree whose set of orbit partitions is closed under taking joins, but not necessarily meets. This talk is on joint work with John R. Britnell (Imperial College).