Geometry and Topology Seminar
"Free boundary minimal hypersurfaces of Euclidean domains"
We will show how the first Betti number of a compact free boundary minimal hypersurface in an domain whose boundary satisfies weak convexity assumptions is controlled effectively by the Morse index of this hypersurface viewed as a critical point of the area functional (joint with A. Carlotto and B. Sharp). Among such domains, the unit three-ball is particularly interesting, as it contains many free boundary minimal surfaces, which one would like to classify. In particular, we will explain how to characterise the critical catenoid in terms of a pinching condition on the second fundamental form (joint with I. Nunes).
"The Lojasiewicz-Simon gradient inequality and applications to energy discreteness and gradient flows in gauge theory"
The Lojasiewicz-Simon gradient inequality is a generalization, due to Leon Simon (1983), to analytic or Morse-Bott functionals on Banach manifolds of the finite-dimensional gradient inequality, due to Stanislaw Lojasiewicz (1963), for analytic functions on Euclidean space. We shall discuss several recent generalizations of the Lojasiewicz-Simon gradient inequality and a selection of their applications, such as global existence and convergence of Yang-Mills gradient flow over four-dimensional manifolds and discreteness of the energy spectrum for harmonic maps from Riemann surfaces into analytic Riemannian manifolds.
"A Frobenius-Nirenberg theorem with parameter"
The Newlander-Nirenberg theorem says that a formally integrable complex structure is locally equivalent to the complex structure in the complex Euclidean space. We will show two results about the Newlander-Nirenberg theorem with parameter. The first extends the Newlander-Nirenberg theorem to a parametric version, and its proof yields a sharp regularity result as Webster's proof for the Newlander-Nirenberg theorem. The second concerns a version of Nirenberg's complex Frobenius theorem and its proof yields a result with a mild loss of regularity.
"Metrics of positive scalar curvature and unbounded min-max widths"
In this talk, I will construct a sequence of Riemannian metrics on the three-dimensional sphere with scalar curvature greater than or equal to 6, and arbitrarily large min-max widths. The search for such metrics is motivated by a rigidity result of min-max minimal spheres in three-manifolds obtained by Marques and Neves.
The mod 8 signature of a fiber bundle
In this talk we shall be concerned with the residues modulo 4 and modulo 8 of the signature of a 4k-dimensional geometric Poincare complex. I will explain the relation between the signature modulo 8 and two other invariants: the Brown-Kervaire invariant and the Arf invariant. In my thesis I applied the relation between these invariants to the study of the signature modulo 8 of a fiber bundle. In 1973 Werner Meyer used group cohomology to show that a surface bundle has signature divisible by 4. I will discuss current work with David Benson, Caterina Campagnolo and Andrew Ranicki where we are using group cohomology and representation theory of finite groups to detect non-trivial signatures modulo 8 of surface bundles.
"Intersectional Invariant Random Subgroups and Furstenberg Entropy."
In this talk I'll present a joint work with Ariel Yadin, in which we solve the Furstenberg Entropy Realization Problem for finitely supported random walks (finite range jumps) on free groups and lamplighter groups. This generalizes a previous result of Bowen. The proof consists of several reductions which have geometric and probabilistic flavors of independent interests. All notions will be explained in the talk, no prior knowledge of Invariant Random Subgroups or Furstenberg Entropy is assumed.
"Random walks on groups with negative curvature"
We will give an introduction to random walks on groups satisfying various types of negative curvature conditions. A simple example is the nearest neighbour random walk on the 4-valent tree, also known as the Cayley graph of the free group on two generators. A typical random walk moves away from the origin at linear speed, and converges to one of the ends of the tree. We will discuss how to generalize this result to more general settings, such as hyperbolic groups, or acylindrical groups. This is joint work with Giulio Tiozzo.
"Obstructions to Nielsen realization"
Let M be a manifold, and let Mod(M) be the group of diffeomorphisms of M modulo isotopy (the mapping class group). The Nielsen realization problem for diffeomorphisms asks, “Can a given subgroup G<Mod(M) be lifted to the diffeomorphism group Diff(M)?” This question about group actions is related to a question about flat connections on fiber bundles with fiber M. In the case M is a closed surface, the answer is “yes" for finite G (by work of Kerckhoff) and “no" for G=Mod(M) (by work of Morita). For most infinite G<Mod(M), we don't know. I will discuss some obstructions that can be used to show that certain groups don’t lift. Some of this work is joint with Nick Salter.
Stable classification of 4-manifolds
A stabilisation of a 4-manifold M is a connected sum of M with some number of copies of S^2 x S^2. Two 4-manifolds are said to be stably diffeomorphic if they admit diffeomorphic stabilisations. Since a necessary condition is that the fundamental groups be isomorphic, we study this equivalence relation for a fixed group. I will discuss recent progress in classifying 4-manifolds up to stable diffeomorphism for certain families of groups, arising from work with Daniel Kasprowski, Markus Land and Peter Teichner. As a by-product we also obtained a result on the analogous question with the complex projective plane CP^2 replacing S^2 x S^2.
Analytic functions from hyperbolic manifolds
At the heart of Thurston's proof of Geometrization for Haken manifolds is a family of analytic functions between Teichmuller spaces called "skinning maps." These maps carry geometric information about their associated hyperbolic manifolds, and I'll discuss what is presently known about their behavior. The ideas involved form a mix of geometry, algebra, and analysis.
"The Anomaly Flow and Strominger systems"
The anomaly flow is a geometric flow which implements the Green-Schwarz anomaly cancellation mechanism originating from superstring theory, while preserving the conformally balanced condition of Hermitian metrics. I will discuss criteria for long time existence and convergence of the flow on toric fibrations with the Fu-Yau ansatz. This is joint work with D.H. Phong and S. Picard.
Archive of past Geometry seminars