Past Topology Seminar

22 June 2020
15:45
Yair Minsky
Abstract

There is a well-known correspondence between Weil-Petersson geodesic loops in the moduli space of a surface S and hyperbolic 3-manifolds fibering over the circle with fibre S. Much is unknown, however, about the detailed relationship between geometric features of the loops and those of the 3-manifolds.

In work with Leininger-Souto-Taylor we study the relation between WP length and 3-manifold volume, when the length (suitably normalized) is bounded and the fiber topology is unbounded. We obtain a WP analogue of a theorem proved by Farb-Leininger-Margalit for the Teichmuller metric. In work with Modami, we fix the fiber topology and study connections between the thick-thin decomposition of a geodesic loop and that of the corresponding 3-manifold. While these decompositions are often in direct correspondence, we exhibit examples where the correspondence breaks down. This leaves the full conjectural picture somewhat mysterious, and raises many questions. 

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15 June 2020
15:45
Severin Bunk
Abstract

In this talk I will present results from an ongoing joint research  program with Konrad Waldorf. Its main goal is to understand the  relation between gerbes on a manifold M and open-closed smooth field  theories on M. Gerbes can be viewed as categorified line bundles, and  we will see how gerbes with connections on M and their sections give  rise to smooth open-closed field theories on M. If time permits, we  will see that the field theories arising in this way have several characteristic properties, such as invariance under thin homotopies,  and that they carry positive reflection structures. From a physical  perspective, ourconstruction formalises the WZW amplitude as part of  a smooth bordism-type field theory.

8 June 2020
15:45
Abstract

We study the countable set of rates of growth of a hyperbolic 
group with respect to all its finite generating sets. We prove that the 
set is well-ordered, and that every real number can be the rate of growth 
of at most finitely many generating sets up to automorphism of the group.

We prove that the ordinal of the set of rates of growth is at least $ω^ω$, 
and in case the group is a limit group (e.g., free and surface groups), it 
is $ω^ω$.

We further study the rates of growth of all the finitely generated 
subgroups of a hyperbolic group with respect to all their finite 
generating sets. This set is proved to be well-ordered as well, and every 
real number can be the rate of growth of at most finitely many isomorphism 
classes of finite generating sets of subgroups of a given hyperbolic 
group. Finally, we strengthen our results to include rates of growth of 
all the finite generating sets of all the subsemigroups of a hyperbolic 
group.

Joint work with Koji Fujiwara.

1 June 2020
15:45
Benson Farb
Abstract

In some ways the theory of mapping class groups of 4-manifolds is in 2020 at the same place where the theory of mapping class groups of 2-manifolds was in 1973, before Thurston changed everything.  In this talk I will describe some first steps in an ongoing joint project with Eduard Looijenga where we are trying to understand mapping class groups of certain algebraic surfaces (e.g. rational elliptic surfaces, and also K3 surfaces) from the Thurstonian point of view.

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18 May 2020
15:45
Abstract

Just as differential equations often boundary conditions of various types, so too do quantum field theories often admit boundary theories. I will explain these notions and then discuss a theorem proved with Constantin Teleman, essentially characterizing certain 3-dimensional topological field theories which admit nonzero boundary theories. One application is to gapped systems in condensed matter physics.

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11 May 2020
15:45
Irena Matkovic
Abstract

Tight contact structures on knot complements arise both from Legendrian realizations of the knot in the standard tight contact structure and from the non-loose Legendrian realizations in the overtwisted structures on the sphere. In this talk, we will deal with negative torus knots. We wish to concentrate on the relations between these various Legendrian realizations of a knot and the contact structures on the surgeries along the knot. In particular, we will build every contact structure by a single Legendrian surgery, and relate the knot properties to the properties of surgeries; namely, tightness, fillability and non-vanishing Heegaard Floer invariant.

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4 May 2020
15:45
Ian Agol
Abstract

Addressing a question of Baker and Reid,

we give a criterion to show that an arithmetic group 

has a congruence subgroup that is algebraically

fibered. Some examples to which the criterion applies

include a hyperbolic 4-manifold group containing infinitely

many Bianchi groups, and a complex hyperbolic surface group.

This is joint work with Matthew Stover.

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27 April 2020
15:45
Martin Palmer
Abstract

For a bundle E over a manifold M, the associated "configuration-section spaces" are spaces of configurations of points in M together with a section of E over the complement of the configuration. One often considers subspaces where the behaviour of the section near a configuration point -- a kind of "monodromy" -- is restricted or prescribed. These are examples of "non-local configuration spaces", and may be interpreted physically as moduli spaces of "fields with prescribed singularities" in an ambient manifold.

An important class of examples is given by Hurwitz spaces, which are moduli spaces of branched G-coverings of the 2-disc, and which are homotopy equivalent to certain configuration-section spaces on the 2-disc. Ellenberg, Venkatesh and Westerland proved that, under certain conditions, Hurwitz spaces are (rationally) homologically stable; from this they then deduced an asymptotic version of the Cohen-Lenstra conjecture for function fields, a purely number-theoretical result.

We will discuss another homological stability result for configuration-section spaces, which holds (with integral coefficients) whenever the base manifold M is connected and open. We will also show that the "stabilisation maps" are split-injective (in all degrees) whenever dim(M) is at least 3 and M is either simply-connected or its handle dimension is at most dim(M) - 2.

This represents joint work with Ulrike Tillmann.

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9 March 2020
15:45
Radhika Gupta
Abstract

The mapping class group of a surface is associated to its Teichmüller space. In turn, its boundary consists of projective measured laminations. Similarly, the group of outer automorphisms of a free group is associated to its Outer space. Now the boundary contains equivalence classes of arationaltrees as a subset. There exist distinct projective measured laminations that have the same underlying geodesic lamination, which is also minimal and filling. Such geodesic laminations are called `non-uniquely ergodic'. I will talk briefly about laminations on surfaces and then present a construction of non-uniquely ergodic phenomenon for arational trees. This is joint work with Mladen Bestvina and Jing Tao.

2 March 2020
15:45
Hannah Schwartz
Abstract

We will first construct pairs of homotopic 2-spheres smoothly embedded in a 4-manifold that are smoothly equivalent (via an ambient diffeomorphism preserving homology) but not even topologically isotopic. Indeed, these examples show that Gabai's recent "4D Lightbulb Theorem" does not hold without the 2-torsion hypothesis. We will proceed to discuss two distinct ways of obstructing such an isotopy, as well as related invariants which can be used to obstruct an isotopy between pairs of properly embedded disks (rather than spheres) in a 4-manifold.

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