School of Mathematics Colloquium
Thursday, March 3, 2016 - 4:05pm
1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Unitary representations of Lie groups appear in many guises in mathematics: in harmonic analysis (as generalizations of classical Fourier analysis); in number theory (as spaces of modular and automorphic forms); in quantum mechanics (as "quantizations" of classical mechanical systems); and in many other places. They have been the subject of intense study for decades, but their classification has only recently emerged. Perhaps surprisingly, the classification has inspired connections with interesting geometric objects (equivariant mixed Hodge modules on flag varieties). These connections have made it possible to extend the classification scheme to other related settings. The purpose of this talk is to explain a little bit about the history and motivation behind the study of unitary representations and offer a few hints about the algebraic and geometric ideas which enter into their study. This is based on joint work with Adams, van Leeuwen, and Vogan.