Seminar series
Mon, 10 Jun 2024
Martin Bridson
(Oxford University)

 A commensuration of a group G is an isomorphism between finite-index subgroups of G. Equivalence classes of such maps form a group, whose importance first emerged in the work of Margulis on the rigidity and arithmeticity of lattices in semisimple Lie groups. Drawing motivation from this classical setting and from the study of mapping class groups of surfaces, I shall explain why, when N is at least 3, the group of automorphisms of the free group of rank N is its own abstract commensurator. Similar results hold for certain subgroups of Aut(F_N). These results are the outcome of a long-running project with Ric Wade. An important element in the proof is a non-abelian analogue of the Fundamental Theorem of Projective Geometry in which projective subspaces are replaced by the free factors of a free group; this is the content of a long-running project with Mladen Bestvina.

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