Past Algebra Seminar

14 June 2011
Benno Kuckuck

Direct products of finitely generated free groups have a surprisingly rich subgroup structure. We will talk about how the finiteness properties of a subgroup of a direct product relate to the way it is embedded in the ambient product. Central to this connection is a conjecture on finiteness properties of fibre products, which we will present along with different approaches towards solving it.

24 May 2011
Prof. V. Bavula

In 1968, Dixmier posed six problems for the algebra of polynomial

  differential operators, i.e. the Weyl algebra. In 1975, Joseph

solved the third and sixth problems and, in 2005, I solved the

  fifth problem and gave a positive solution to the fourth problem

  but only for homogeneous differential operators. The remaining three problems are still open. The first problem/conjecture of Dixmier (which is equivalent to the Jacobian Conjecture as was shown in 2005-07 by Tsuchimito, Belov and Kontsevich) claims that the Weyl algebra `behaves'

like a finite field. The first problem/conjecture of

  Dixmier:   is it true that an algebra endomorphism of the Weyl

  algebra an automorphism? In 2010, I proved that this question has

  an affirmative answer for the algebra of polynomial

  integro-differential operators. In my talk, I will explain the main

  ideas, the structure of the proof and recent progress on the first problem/conjecture of Dixmier.


17 May 2011
Dr Khalid Bou-Rabee

In 1939, Wilhelm Magnus gave a characterization of free groups in terms of their rank and nilpotent quotients. Our goal in this talk is to present results giving both positive and negative answers to the following question: does a similar characterization hold within the class of finite-extensions of finitely generated free groups? This talk covers joint work with Brandon Seward.


3 May 2011
Prof. Aner Shalev
<p>Word maps on groups were studied extensively in the past few years, in connection to various conjectures on profinite groups, finite groups, finite simple groups, etc. I will provide background, as well as very recent works (joint with Larsen, Larsen-Tiep,</p> <p>Liebeck-O'Brien-Tiep) on word maps with relations to representations (e.g. Gowers' method and character ratios), geometry and probability.</p> <p>Recent applications, e.g. to subgroup growth and representation varieties, will also be described.</p> <p>I will conclude with a list of problems and conjectures which are still very much open.&nbsp; The talk should be accessible to a wide audience.</p>
8 March 2011
Dr Chloé Perin
Following the works of Sela and Kharlampovich-Myasnikov on the Tarski problem, we are interested in the first-order logic of free (and more generally hyperbolic) groups. It turns out that techniques from geometric group theory can be used to answer many questions coming from model theory on these groups. We showed with Sklinos that free groups of finite rank are homogeneous, namely that two tuples of elements which have the same first-order properties are in the same orbit under the action of the automorphism group. We also show that this is not the case for most surface groups.
1 March 2011
Prof. Martin Kassabov
We analyze the question of the minimal index of a normal subgroup in a free group which does not contain a given element. Recent work by BouRabee-McReynolds and Rivin give estimates for the index. By using results on the length of shortest identities in finite simple groups we recover and improve polynomial upper and lower bounds for the order of the quotient. The bounds can be improved further if we assume that the element lies in the lower central series.