Let $G$ be a group which splits as $G = F_n * G_1 *...*G_k$, where every $G_i$ is freely indecomposable and not isomorphic to the group of integers. Guirardel and Levitt generalised the Culler- Vogtmann Outer space of a free group by introducing an Outer space for $G$ as above, on which $\text{Out}(G)$ acts by isometries. Francaviglia and Martino introduced the Lipschitz metric for the Culler- Vogtmann space and later for the general Outer space. In a joint paper with Francaviglia and Martino, we prove that the group of isometries of the Outer space corresponding to $G$ , with respect to the Lipschitz metric, is exactly $\text{Out}(G)$. In this talk, we will describe the construction of the general Outer space and the corresponding Lipschitz metric in order to present the result about the isometries.

# Past Junior Topology and Group Theory Seminar

In geometric group theory we study groups by their actions on metric spaces. Although a given group might admit many actions on different metric spaces, on a large scale these spaces will all look similar, and so the large scale properties of a space on which a group acts are intrinsic to the group. One particularly natural example of a large scale property used in this way is the Gromov boundary of a hyperbolic metric space. This is a topological space that can be thought of as compactifying the metric space at infinity.

In this talk I will describe some constructions of spaces occurring in this way with nasty, fractal-like properties. On the other hand, there are limits to how pathological these spaces can be: theorems of Bestvina and Mess, Bowditch and Swarup imply that boundaries of hyperbolic groups are locally path connected whenever they are connected. I will discuss these results and some generalisations.

A stacking is a lift of an immersion of graphs $A\to B$ to an embedding of $A$ into the product of $B$ with the real line; their existence relates to orderability properties of groups. I will describe how Louder and Wilton used them to prove Wise's "$w$-cycles" conjecture: given a primitive word $w$ in a free group $F$, and a subgroup $H < F$, the number of conjugates of $H$ which intersect $<w>$ nontrivially is at most rank($H$). I will also discuss applications of the result to questions of coherence, and possible extensions of it.

I will give a self-contained introduction to the theory of cross ratios on boundaries of Gromov hyperbolic and CAT(-1) spaces, focussing on the connections to the following two questions. When are two spaces with the 'same' Gromov boundary isometric/quasi-isometric? Are closed Riemannian manifolds completely determined (up to isometry) by the lengths of their closed geodesics?

When groups may be built up as graphs of 'simpler' groups, it is often

of interest to study how good residual finiteness properties of simpler

groups can imply residual properties of the whole. The essential case of

this theory is the study of residual properties of finite groups. In

this talk I will discuss the question of when a graph of finite

$p$-groups is residually $p$-finite, for $p$ a prime. I describe the

previous theorems in this area for one-edge and finite graphs of groups,

and their method of proof. I will then state my recent generalisation of

these theorems to potentially infinite graphs of groups, together with

an alternative and more natural method of proof. Finally I will briefly

describe a usage of these results in the study of accessibility --

namely the existence of a finitely generated inaccessible group which is

residually $p$-finite.

I will give a description of a method introduced by N. Ivanov to study the abstract commensurator of a group by using a rigid action of that group on a graph. We will sketch Ivanov's theorem regarding the abstract commensurator of a mapping class group. Time permitting, I will describe how these methods are used in some of my recent work with Horbez on outer automorphism groups of free groups.

Knot theory investigates the many ways of embedding a circle into the three-dimensional sphere. The study of these embeddings is not only important for understanding three-dimensional manifolds, but is also intimately related to many new and surprising phenomena appearing in dimension four. I will discuss how four-dimensional interpretations of some invariants can help us understand surfaces that bound a given link (embedding of several disjoint circles).

In 1982, Gromov introduced bounded cohomology to give estimates on the minimal volume of manifolds. Since then, bounded cohomology has become an independent and active research field. In this talk I will give an introduction to bounded cohomology, state many open problems and relate it to other fields.

I will discuss the basics of normal surface theory, and how they were used to give an algorithm for deciding whether a given diagram represents the unknot. This version is primarily based on Haken's work, with simplifications from Schubert and Jaco-Oertel.

Polycyclic groups either have polynomial growth, in which case they are virtually nilpotent, or exponential growth. I will give two interesting examples of "small" polycyclic groups which are extensions of $\mathbb{R}^2$ and the Heisenberg group by the integers, and attempt to justify the claim that they are small by sketching an argument that every exponential growth polycyclic group contains one of these.