### The Shape of Things: Organizing space using algebra

- Series
- Research Horizons Seminar
- Time
- Wednesday, November 20, 2019 - 12:20 for 1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
- Location
- Skiles 005
- Speaker
- Miriam Kuzbary

Determining when two objects have “the same shape” is difficult; this difficulty depends on the dimension we are working in. While many of the same techniques work to study things in dimensions 5 and higher, we can better understand dimensions 1, 2, and 3 using other methods. We can think of 4-dimensional space as the “bridge” between low-dimensional behavior and high-dimensional behavior.

One way to understand the possibilities in each dimension is to examine objects called cobordisms: if an (n+1)-dimensional space has an ``edge,” which is called a boundary, then that boundary is itself an n-dimensional space. We say that two n-dimensional spaces are cobordant if together they form the boundary of an (n+1)-dimensional space. Using the idea of spaces related by cobordism, we can form an algebraic structure called a group. In this way, we can attempt to understand higher dimensions using clues from lower dimensions.

In this talk, I will discuss different types of cobordism groups and how to study them using tools from a broad range of mathematical areas.