Irrationality and monodromy for cubic threefolds

25 November 2019
Ivan Smith

The homological monodromy of the universal family of cubic threefolds defines a representation of a certain Artin-type group into the symplectic group Sp(10;\Z). We use Thurston’s classification of surface automorphisms to prove this does not factor through the genus five mapping class group.  This gives a geometric group theory perspective on the well-known irrationality of cubic threefolds, as established by Clemens and Griffiths.