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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