Past Topology Seminar

7 March 2016
Fanny Kassel
Anosov representations of word hyperbolic groups into semisimple Lie groups provide a generalization of convex cocompact representations to higher real rank. I will explain how these representations can be used to construct properly discontinuous actions on homogeneous spaces. In certain cases, all properly discontinuous actions of quasi-isometrically embedded groups come from this construction. This is joint work with F. Guéritaud, O. Guichard, and A. Wienhard. 
29 February 2016
Liam Watson

Bordered Floer homology is a variant of Heegaard Floer homology adapted to manifolds with boundary. I will describe a class of three-manifolds with torus boundary for which these invariants may be recast in terms of immersed curves in a punctured torus. This makes it possible to recast the paring theorem in bordered Floer homology in terms of intersection between curves leading, in turn, to some new observations about Heegaard Floer homology. This is joint work with Jonathan Hanselman and Jake Rasmussen. 

15 February 2016
Constantin Teleman

The Cartan model computes the equivariant cohomology of a smooth manifold X with 
differentiable action of a compact Lie group G, from the invariant functions on 
the Lie algebra with values in differential forms and a deformation of the de Rham 
differential. Before extracting invariants, the Cartan differential does not square 
to zero. Unrecognised was the fact that the full complex is a curved algebra, 
computing the quotient by G of the algebra of differential forms on X. This 
generates, for example, a gauged version of string topology. Another instance of 
the construction, applied to deformation quantisation of symplectic manifolds, 
gives the BRST construction of the symplectic quotient. Finally, the theory for a 
X point with an additional quadratic curving computes the representation category 
of the compact group G.

25 January 2016
Dan Ketover

I will explain some recent work using minimal surfaces to address problems in 3-manifold topology.  Given a Heegaard splitting, one can sweep out a three-manifold by surfaces isotopic to the splitting, and run the min-max procedure of Almgren-Pitts and Simon-Smith to construct a smooth embedded minimal surface.   If the original splitting were strongly irreducible (as introduced by Casson-Gordon), H. Rubinstein sketched an argument in the 80s showing that the limiting minimal surface should be isotopic to the original splitting.  I will explain some results in this direction and how jointly with T. Colding and D. Gabai we can use such min-max minimal surfaces to complete the classification problem for Heegaard splittings of non-Haken hyperbolic 3-manifolds.

18 January 2016

In dimension three, convex surface theory implies that every tight contact structure on a connected sum M # N can be constructed as a connected sum of tight contact structures on M and N. I will explain some examples showing that this is not true in any dimension greater than three.  The proof is based on a recent higher-dimensional version of a classic result of Eliashberg about the symplectic fillings of contact manifolds obtained by subcritical surgery. This is joint work with Paolo Ghiggini and Klaus Niederkrüger.