Knotoids are a generalisation of knots that deals with open curves. In the past few years, they’ve been extensively used to classify entanglement in proteins. Through a double branched cover construction, we prove a 1-1 correspondence between knotoids and strongly invertible knots. We characterise forbidden moves between knotoids in terms of equivariant band attachments between strongly invertible knots, and in terms of crossing changes between theta-curves. Finally, we present some applications to the study of the topology of proteins. This is based on joint works with D.Buck, H.A.Harrington, M.Lackenby and with D. Goundaroulis.

# Past Junior Topology and Group Theory Seminar

A group splits as an HNN-extension if and only if the rank of its abelianisation is strictly positive. If we fix a class of groups one may ask a few questions about these splittings: How distorted are the vertex and edge groups? What form can the vertex and edge groups take? If they remain in our fixed class, do they also split? If so, under iteration will we terminate at something nice? In this talk we will answer all these questions for the class of one-relator groups and go through an example or two. Time permitting, we will also discuss possible generalisations to groups with staggered presentations.

An important property of Gromov hyperbolic spaces is the fact that every path for which all sufficiently long subpaths are quasi-geodesics is itself a quasi-geodesic. Gromov showed that this property is actually a characterization of hyperbolic spaces. In this talk, we will consider a weakened version of this local-to-global behaviour, called the Morse local-to-global property. The class of spaces that satisfy the Morse local-to-global property include several examples of interest, such as CAT(0) spaces, Mapping Class Groups, fundamental groups of closed 3-manifolds and more. The leverage offered by knowing that a space satisfies this property allows us to import several results and techniques from the theory of hyperbolic groups. In particular, we obtain results relating to stable subgroups, normal subgroups and algorithmic properties.

We will discuss what it means to study the homology of a group via the construction of the classifying space. We will look at some examples of this construction and some of its main properties. We then use this to define and study the homology of the mapping class group of oriented surfaces, focusing on the approach used by Harer to prove his Homology Stability Theorem.

When Gromov defined non-positively curved cube complexes no one knew what they would be useful for.

Decades latex they played a key role in the resolution of the Virtual Haken conjecture.

In one of the early forays into experimenting with cube complexes, Aitchison, Matsumoto, and Rubinstein produced some nice results about certain "cubed" manifolds, that in retrospect look very prescient.

I will define non-positively curved cube complexes, what it means for a 3-manifold to be cubed, and discuss what all this Haken business is about.

A graph of groups decomposition is a way of splitting a group into smaller and hopefully simpler groups. A natural thing to try and do is to keep splitting until you can't split anymore, and then argue that this decomposition is unique. This is the idea behind JSJ decompositions, although, as we shall see, the strength of the uniqueness statement for such a decomposition varies depending on the class of groups that we restrict our edge groups to

We will answer the following question: given a finite simplicial complex X acted on by a finite group G, which object stores the minimal amount of information about the symmetries of X in such a way that we can reconstruct both X and the group action? The natural first guess would be the quotient X/G, which remembers one representative from each orbit. However, it does not tell us the size of each orbit or how to glue together simplices to recover X. Our desired object is, in fact, a complex of groups. We will understand two processes: compression and reconstruction and see primarily through an example how to answer our initial question.

The mapping class group of a surface is a group of homeomorphisms of that surface, and these groups have been very well studied in the last 50 years. The talk will be focused on a way to understand such a group by looking at the subsurfaces of the corresponding surface; this is the so-called "Masur-Minsky hierarchy machinery". We'll finish with a non-technical discussion of hierarchically hyperbolic groups, which are a popular area of current research, and of which mapping class groups are important motivating examples. No prior knowledge of the objects involved will be assumed.

Every Cayley graph of a finitely generated group has some basic properties: they are locally finite, connected, and vertex-transitive. These are not sufficient conditions, there are some well known examples of graphs that have all these properties but are non-Cayley. These examples do however "look like" Cayley graphs, which leads to the natural question of if there exist any vertex-transitive graphs that are completely unlike any Cayley graph. I plan to give some of the history of this question, as well as the construction of the example that finally answered it.

Simplicial volume was first introduced by Gromov to study the minimal volume of manifolds. Since then it has emerged as an active research field with a wide range of applications.

I will give an introduction to simplicial volume and describe a recent result with Clara Löh (University of Regensburg), showing that the set of simplicial volumes in higher dimensions is dense in $R^+$.