Past Topology Seminar

14 June 2021
15:45
Ana Lecuona
Abstract

Together with Alex Degtyarev and Vincent Florence we introduced a new link invariant, called slope, of a colored link in an integral homology sphere. In this talk I will define the invariant, highlight some of its most interesting properties as well as its relationship to Conway polynomials and to the  Kojima–Yamasaki eta-function. The stress in this talk will be on our latest computational progress: a formula to calculate the slope from a C-complex.

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7 June 2021
15:45
Mladen Bestvina
Abstract

Most of the talk will be about the Farrell-Jones conjecture from the point of view of an outsider. I'll try to explain what the conjecture is about, why one wants to know it, and how to prove it in some cases. The motivation for the talk is my recent work with Fujiwara and Wigglesworth where we prove this conjecture for (virtually torsion-free hyperbolic)-by-cyclic groups. If there is time I will outline the proof of this result.

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31 May 2021
15:45
Jan Steinebrunner
Abstract

The d-dimensional bordism category Cob_d has as objects closed (d-1)-manifolds and as morphisms diffeomorphism classes of d-dimensional bordisms. For d=1 and d=2 this category is well understood because we have a complete list of all 1 or 2-manifolds with boundary. In this talk I will argue that the categories Cob_1 and Cob_2 nevertheless carry a lot of interesting structure. 

I will show that the classifying spaces B(Cob_1) and B(Cob_2) contain interesting moduli spaces coming from the combinatorics of how 1 or 2 manifolds can be glued along their boundary. In particular, I will introduce the notion of a "factorisation category" and explain how it relates to Connes' cyclic category for d=1 and to the moduli space of tropical curves for d=2. If time permits, I will sketch how this relates to the curve complex and moduli spaces of complex curves.

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24 May 2021
15:45
Abstract

I will discuss recent progress on understanding the tmf-based Adams spectral sequence, where tmf = topological modular forms.  The idea is to generalize the work of Mahowald and others in the context of bo-resolutions.  The work I will discuss is joint with Prasit Bhattacharya, Dominic Culver, and J.D. Quigley.

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17 May 2021
15:45
Piotr Przytycki
Abstract

Let S be an orientable surface of finite type. Using Pho-On's infinite unicorn paths, we prove the hyperfiniteness of the orbit equivalence relation coming from the action of the mapping class group of S on the Gromov boundary of the arc graph of S. This is joint work with Marcin Sabok.

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10 May 2021
15:45
Samuel Edwards
Abstract

The geodesic flow on hyperbolic finite-volume hyperbolic manifolds is a particularly well-studied dynamical system; this is in part due to its connection to other important dynamical systems on the manifold, as well as orbital counting and other number-theoretic problems related to discrete subgroups of orthogonal groups. In recent years, there has been some interest in generalizing many of the properties of the geodesic flow on finite-volume manifolds to the infinite-volume setting. I will discuss joint work with Hee Oh in which we establish exponential mixing of the geodesic flow on infinite-volume geometrically finite hyperbolic manifolds with large enough critical exponent. Patterson-Sullivan densities and Burger-Roblin measures, the Lax-Phillips spectral gap for the Laplace operator on infinite volume geometrically finite hyperbolic manifolds, and complementary series representations are all involved in both the statement and proof of our result, and I will try to explain how these different objects are related in this setting.

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3 May 2021
15:45
Jennifer Hom
Abstract

The unknotting number of a knot is the minimum number of crossing changes needed to untie the knot. It is one of the simplest knot invariants to define, yet remains notoriously difficult to compute. We will survey some basic knot theory invariants and constructions, including the satellite knot construction, a straightforward way to build new families of knots. We will give a lower bound on the unknotting number of certain satellites using knot Floer homology. This is joint work in progress with Tye Lidman and JungHwan Park.

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26 April 2021
15:45
Stuart White
Abstract

C*-algebras provide non commutative analogues of locally compact Hausdorff spaces. In this talk I’ll provide a survey of the large scale project to classify simple amenable C*-algebras, indicating the role played by non commutative versions of topological ideas. No prior knowledge of C*-algebras will be assumed.

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15 March 2021
15:45
Marc Lackenby
Abstract

I will outline a new algorithm for unknot recognition that runs in quasi-polynomial time. The input is a diagram of a knot with n crossings, and the running time is n^{O(log n)}. The algorithm uses hierarchies, normal surfaces and Heegaard splittings.

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8 March 2021
15:45
Abstract

In rational conformal field theory, the sewing and factorization properties are probably the most important properties that conformal blocks satisfy. For special examples such as Weiss-Zumino-Witten models and minimal models, these two properties were proved decades ago (assuming the genus is ≤1 for the sewing theorem). But for general (strongly) rational vertex operator algebras (VOAs), their proofs were finished only very recently. In this talk, I will first motivate the definition of conformal blocks and VOAs using Segal's picture of CFT. I will then explain the importance of Sewing and Factorization Theorem in the construction of full rational conformal field theory.

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