Seminars and Colloquia by Series

Friday, November 8, 2013 - 14:05 , Location: Skiles 006 , G. Masbaum , Institut de Mathématiques de Jussieu , Organizer: Thang Le
Let g be a positive integer and let Gamma_g be the mapping class group of the genus g closed orientable surface. We show that every finite group is involved in Gamma_g. (Here a group G is said to be involved in a group Gamma if G is isomorphic to a quotient of a subgroup of Gamma of finite index.) This answers a question asked by U. Hamenstadt. The proof uses quantum representations of mapping class groups. (Joint work with A. Reid.)
Monday, November 4, 2013 - 14:00 , Location: Skiles 006 , Jesse Johnson , Oklahoma State University , Organizer: John Etnyre
The notion of distance for a Heegaard splitting of athree-dimensional manifold $M$, introduced by John Hempel, has provedto be a very powerful tool for understanding the geometry and topologyof $M$. I will describe how distance, and a slight generalizationknown as subsurface projection distance, can be used to explore theconnection between geometry and topology at the center of the moderntheory hyperbolic three-manifolds.In particular, Schalremann-Tomova showed that if a Heegaard splittingfor $M$ has high distance then it will be the only irreducibleHeegaard splitting of $M$ with genus less than a certain bound. I willexplain this result in terms of both a geometric proof and atopological proof. Then, using the notion of subsurface distance, Iwill describe a construction of a manifold with multiple distinctlow-distance Heegaard splittings of the same (small) genus, and amanifold with both a high distance, low-genus Heegaard splitting and adistinct, irreducible high-genus, low-distance Heegaard splitting.
Monday, October 28, 2013 - 14:00 , Location: Skiles 006 , Bulent Tosun , University of Virginia , Organizer: John Etnyre
Contact geometry in three dimensions is a land of two disjoint classes ofcontact structures; overtwisted vs. tight. The former ones are flexible,means their geometry is determined by algebraic topology of underlying twoplane fields. In particular their existence and classification areunderstood completely. Tight contact structure, on the other hand, arerigid. The existence problem of a tight contact structure on a fixed threemanifold is hard and still widely open. The classification problem is evenharder.  In this talk, we will focus on the classification of tight contactstructures on Seifert fibered manifolds on which the existence problem oftight contact structures was settled recently by Lisca and Stipsicz.
Monday, October 14, 2013 - 14:05 , Location: Skiles 006 , None , UNC Greensboro , Organizer: Dan Margalit
Monday, October 7, 2013 - 14:05 , Location: Skiles 006 , Andrew Brasile , University of Illinois at Chicago , abrasi2@math.uic.edu , Organizer: Stavros Garoufalidis
In a paper published in 2012, Nathan Dunfield and StavrosGaroufalidis gave simple, sufficient conditions for a spunnormal surface tobe essential in a compact, orientable 3-manifold with torus boundary. Thistalk will discuss a generalization of this result which utilizes a theoremfrom tropical geometry.
Monday, September 30, 2013 - 14:00 , Location: Skiles 006 , Dheeraj Kulkarni , Georgia Tech , Organizer: John Etnyre
The $4$-genus of a knot is an important measure of complexity, related tothe unknotting number. A fundamental result used to study the $4$-genusand related invariants of homology classes is the Thom conjecture,proved by Kronheimer-Mrowka, and its symplectic extension due toOzsvath-Szabo, which say that closed symplectic surfacesminimize genus.Suppose (X, \omega) is a symplectic 4-manifold with contact type bounday and Sigma is a symplectic surface in X such that its boundary is a transverse knot in the boundary of X. In this talk we show that there is a closed symplectic 4-manifold Y with a closed symplectic submanifold S such that the pair (X, \Sigma) embeds symplectically into (Y, S).  This gives a proof of the relative version of Symplectic Thom Conjecture. We use this to study 4-genus of fibered knots in the 3-sphere.We will also discuss a relative version of Giroux's criterion of Stein fillability. This is joint work with Siddhartha Gadgil
Monday, September 23, 2013 - 15:05 , Location: Skiles 006 , Tara Brendle , U Glasgow , Organizer: Dan Margalit
The so-called integral Burau representation gives a symplectic representation of the braid group.  In this talk we will discuss the resulting congruence subgroups of braid groups, that is, preimages of the principal congruence subgroups of the symplectic group.  In particular, we will show that the level 4 congruence braid group is equal to the group generated by squares of Dehn twists.  One key tool is a "squared lantern relation" amongst Dehn twists. Joint work with Dan Margalit.
Monday, September 16, 2013 - 14:00 , Location: Skiles 006 , Lawrence Roberts , University of Alabama , Organizer: John Etnyre
Khovanov homology is an invariant of a link in S^3 which refines the Jones polynomial of the link. Recently I defined a version of Khovanov homology for tangles with interesting locality and gluing properties, currently called bordered Khovanov homology, which follows the algebraic pattern of bordered Floer homology. After reviewing the ideas behind bordered Khovanov homology, I will describe what appears to be the Jones polynomial-like structure which bordered Khovanov homology refines.
Monday, September 9, 2013 - 14:05 , Location: Skiles 006 , Igor Belegradek , Georgia Tech , Organizer: Igor Belegradek
It is known that any complete nonnegatively curved metric on the plane is conformally equivalent to the Euclidean metric. In the first half of the talk I shall explain that the conformal factors that show up correspond precisely to smooth subharmonic functions of minimal growth. The proof is function-theoretic. This characterization of conformal factors can be used to study connectedness properties of the space of complete nonnegatively curved metrics on the plane. A typical result is that the space of metrics cannot be separated by a finite dimensional subspace. The proofs use infinite-dimensional topology and dimension theory. This is a joint work with Jing Hu.
Wednesday, September 4, 2013 - 14:00 , Location: Skiles 006 , Youlin Li , Georgia Tech , Organizer: John Etnyre
We introduce the (homologically essential) arc complex of a surface as a tool for studying properties of open book decompositions and contact structures. After characterizing destabilizability in terms of the essential translation distance of the monodromy of an open book we given an application of this result to show that there are planer open books of the standard contact structure on the 3-sphere with 5 (or any number larger than 5) boundary components that do not destabilize. We also show that any planar open book with 4 or fewer boundary components does destabilize. This is joint work with John Etnyre.

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