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Series: Geometry Topology Seminar

In many physical situations we are interested in topological lower bounds for L^2-energy of volume preserving vector fields. Such situations include for instance evolution of a magnetic field in ideal magnetohydrodynamics. Classical energy bounds involve topological invariants like helicity which measure linkage of orbits in the flow. In this talk I will present a new lower bound in terms of the third order helicity, which is an invariant measuring a third order linkage of orbits. I will also discuss how the third order helicity can be derived from the Milnor's \mu-bar invariant for 3-component links.

Series: Geometry Topology Seminar

In this talk I will describe some relations between embedded graphs, their polynomials and the Jones polynomial of an associated link. I will explain how relations between graphs, links and their polynomials leads to the definition of the partial dual of a ribbon graph. I will then go on to show that the realizations of the Jones polynomial as the Tutte polynomial of a graph, and as the topological Tutte polynomial of a ribbon graph are related, surprisingly, by the homfly polynomial.

Series: Geometry Topology Seminar

In this talk I will give a purely combinatorial description of Knot Floer Homology for knots in the three-sphere (Manolescu-Ozsvath-Szabo- Thurston). In this homology there is a naturally associated invariant for transverse knots. This invariant gives a combinatorial but still an effective way to distinguish transverse knots (Ng-Ozsvath-Thurston). Moreover it leads to the construction of an infinite family of non-transversely simple knot-types (Vertesi).

Series: Geometry Topology Seminar

W. Goldman proved that the SL(2)-character variety X(F) of a closed surface F is a holonomic symplectic manifold. He also showed that the Sl(2)-characters of every 3-manifold with boundary F form an isotropic subspace of X(F). In fact, for all 3-manifolds whose SL(2)-representations are easy to analyze, these representations form a Lagrangian space. In this talk, we are going to construct explicit examples of 3-manifolds M bounding surfaces of arbitrary genus, whose spaces of SL(2)-characters have dimension as small as possible. We discuss relevance of this problem to quantum and classical low-dimensional topology.

Series: Geometry Topology Seminar

I will describe a framework which relates large N duality to the geometry of degenerating Calabi-Yau spaces and the Hitchin integrable system. I will give a geometric interpretation of the Dijkgraaf-Vafa large N quantization procedure in this context.

Series: Geometry Topology Seminar

This is an expository talk. A classical theorem of Mazur gives a simple criterion for two closed manifolds M, M' to become diffeomorphic after multiplying by the Euclidean n-space, where n large. In the talk I shall prove Mazur's theorem, and then discuss what happens when n is small and M, M' are 3-dimensional lens spaces. The talk shall be accessible to anybody with interest in geometry and topology.

Series: Geometry Topology Seminar

Based on work of Schwarz and Oh, information coming from a filtration in Hamiltonian Floer homology can be used to construct "spectral invariants" for paths of Hamiltonian diffeomorphisms of symplectic manifolds. I will show how these invariants can be used to provide a unified approach to proving various old and new results in symplectic topology, including the non-degeneracy of the Hofer metric and some of its variants; a sharp version of an inequality between the Hofer-Zehnder capacity and the displacement energy; and a generalization of Gromov's non-squeezing theorem.

Series: Geometry Topology Seminar

I will discuss a relation between the HOMFLY polynomial of a knot, its extension for a closed 3-manifold, a special function, the trilogarithm, and zeta(3). Technically, this means that we consider perturbative U(N) Chern-Simons theory around the trivial flat connection, for all N, in an ambient 3-manifold. This is rigorous, and joint with Marcos Marino and Thang Le.

Series: Geometry Topology Seminar

The Dehn function of a finitely presented group measures the difficulty in filling loops in the presentation complex of the group. Higher dimensional Dehn functions are a natural generalization: the n-dimensional Dehn function of a group captures the difficulty of filling n-spheres with (n+1)-balls in suitably defined complexes associated with the group. A fundamental question in the area is that of determining which functions arise as Dehn functions. I will give an overview of known results and describe recent progress in the 2-dimensional case. This is joint work with Josh Barnard and Noel Brady.

Series: Geometry Topology Seminar

The hyperbolic volume and the colored Jones polynomial are two of the most powerful invariants in knot theory. In this talk we aim to extend these invariants to arbitrary graphs embedded in 3-space. This provides new tools for studying questions about graph embedding and it also sheds some new light on the volume conjecture. According to this conjecture, the Jones polynomial and the volume of a knot are intimately related. In some special cases we will prove that this still holds true in the case of graphs.