Low Dimensional Topology and Cobordism Groups: Organizing spaces using algebra

Undergraduate Seminar
Monday, November 23, 2020 - 3:30pm for 1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Bluejeans meeting https://bluejeans.com/759112674
Dr. Miriam Kuzbary – Georgia Tech
Enid Steinbart

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,”  then that edge is itself an n-dimensional space. We say that two n-dimensional spaces are cobordant if together they form the edge of an (n+1)-dimensional space. Using the idea of spaces related by cobordism, we can form a group. In this way, we can attempt to understand higher dimensions using clues from lower dimensions and organize this information using algebra. 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.