Contravariant forms on Whittaker modules

24 September 2019
Adam Brown

In 1985, McDowell introduced a family of parabolically induced Whittaker modules over a complex semisimple Lie algebra, which includes both Verma modules and the nondegenerate Whittaker modules studied by Kostant. Many classical results for Verma modules and the Bernstein--Gelfand--Gelfand category O have been generalized to the category of Whittaker modules introduced by Milicic--Soergel, including the classification of irreducible objects and the Kazhdan--Lusztig conjectures. Contravariant forms on Verma modules are unique up to scaling and play a key role in the definition of the Jantzen filtration. In this talk I will discuss a classification of contravariant forms on parabolically induced Whittaker modules. In a recent result, joint with Anna Romanov, we show that the dimension of the space of contravariant forms on a parabolically induced Whittaker module is given by the cardinality of a Weyl group. This result illustrates a divergence from classical results for Verma modules, and gives insight to two significant open problems in the theory of Whittaker modules: the Jantzen conjecture and the absence of an algebraic definition of duality.