The usual finite dimensional Grassmannians are well known to be classifying spaces for vector bundles. It is maybe a less known fact that one has certain natural connections on the Stiefel bundles over them, which also have a universality property. I will show how these connections are constructed and explain how this viewpoint can be used to rediscover Chern-Weil theory. Finally, we will see how a certain stabilized version of this, called the restricted Grassmannian, admits a similar construction, which can be used to show that it is a smooth classifying space for differential K-theory.
- Junior Geometry and Topology Seminar