Information

The KCL/UCL Junior Geometry Seminar is a joint seminar of King's College London and University College London. Speakers present topics from Algebraic Geometry, Differential Geometry, Geometric Analysis, Geometric Group Theory, Topology, and related areas.

The target audience is young researchers — in particular PhD students. In term 2, the seminar will run entirely in person at Drayton House, UCL on Mondays from 5:45 to 7:00 PM.

All are welcome! The goal of this seminar, above all, is to be useful to its audience. If you would like to hear about a particular topic or give a talk, please contact one of the organisers:

Also check out these other junior seminars in London:


Room Locations

Please note that the seminar will be held in B20 Jevons Lecture Theatre, Drayton House, except on the following dates:

where it will be held in B03 Ricardo Lecture Theatre, Drayton House instead.


Subscription

To receive updates about upcoming talks you can subscribe to our mailing list by sending an email with subject "Subscribe" to maths-juniorgeom-subscribe@ucl.ac.uk . Alternatively, you can register here.

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Next seminar

March
4
5.45 - 7.00pm

Stability of Cayley fibrations

Gilles Englebert, University of Oxford
Location: B20 Jevons LT, Drayton House
The SYZ conjecture is a geometric way of understanding mirror symmetry via the existence of dual special Lagrangian fibrations on mirror Calabi-Yau manifolds. Motivated by this conjecture, it is expected that G2 and Spin(7)-manifolds admit calibrated fibrations as well. After giving a quick introduction to the world of calibrated geometry, I will explain how to construct examples of such fibrations on compact Spin(7)-manifolds obtained via gluing of complex fibrations. The key ingredient is the stability of the fibration property under deformation of the ambient Spin(7)-structure, with the main difficulty being the analysis of singular fibres. On the way we talk about the deformation theory of compact and conical Cayley submanifolds and ways to desingularise singular ones.

Schedule


Spring

January
8
5.30 - 6.30pm

Minimal Hypersurfaces: Bubble Convergence and Index

Myles Workman, University College London
Location: B20 Jevons LT, Drayton House
The regularity theories of Schoen--Simon--Yau and Schoen--Simon for stable minimal hypersurfaces are foundational in geometric analysis. Using this regularity theory, in low dimensions, Chodosh--Ketover--Maximo and Buzano--Sharp studied singularity formation in sequences of minimal hypersurfaces through a bubble analysis. I will review this background, before talking about my recent work in this bubble analysis theory. In particular I will show how to obtain upper semicontinuity of index plus nullity along a bubble converging sequence of minimal hypersurfaces. The strategy we employ is inspired by recent developments in the bubbling theory of harmonic maps by DaLio--Gianocca-Rivière.
January
15
5.45 - 7.00pm

What is spin geometry?

Diego Artacho de Obeso, Imperial College London
Location: B03 Ricardo LT, Drayton House
Spin geometry is an area of Mathematics which exhibits a very nice interplay between algebra, topology, analysis and geometry. After this talk, you will know what the following things are and why they are interesting: Clifford algebras (algebra), spin structures (topology), spinors (geometry) and Dirac operators (analysis).
January
22
5.45 - 7.00pm

Fun with the A2 quiver

Nick Nho, University of Cambridge
Location: B03 Ricardo LT, Drayton House
In this talk, we will see how the A2 quiver arises in various geometric contexts (ideal triangulations of the pentagon, CY 3-folds, spectral curves). We will also talk about how they are all related.
January
29
5.45 - 7.00pm

Algorithms and 3-manifolds

Adele Jackson, University of Oxford
Location: B03 Ricardo LT, Drayton House
Given a mathematical object, what can you compute about it? In some settings, you cannot say very much. Given an arbitrary group presentation, for example, there is no procedure to decide whether the group is trivial. In 3-manifolds, however, algorithms are a fruitful and active area of study (and some of them are even implementable!). One of the main tools in this area is normal surface theory, which allows us to describe interesting surfaces in a 3-manifold with respect to an arbitrary triangulation. I will discuss some results in this area, particularly around Seifert fibered spaces.
February
5
5.45 - 7.00pm

Predictions in Open FJRW Theory Via Mirror Symmetry, Modularity and Wall-Crossing

Robert Maher, University of Birmingham
Location: B20 Jevons LT, Drayton House
FJRW theory is an enumerative curve count for Landau-Ginzburg models. Analogous to Gromov-Witten theory for Calabi-Yau or Fano varieties, there is a mirror to FJRW theory that has become known as Saito-Givental theory. In this talk, I will motivate Saito-Givental theory by describing closed r-spin intersection numbers as the simplest example of FJRW theory. I will then explain closed Saito-Givental theory as a cohomological field theory by providing explicit formulas for the flat coordinates of the Frobenius manifold associated to any simple or elliptic singularity. This is an extension of work done by Noumi-Yamada. Using this, as well as recent work of Gross-Kelly-Tessler, I will construct Saito-Givental theory for open string invariants via the existence of a Lie group of wall-crossing transformations in rank 2, in addition to describing modularity properties in the case of elliptic orbifolds.
February
12
5.45 - 7.00pm

Spectral data for U(p,q)-Higgs bundles

Alexander Fruh, University of Birmingham
Location: B20 Jevons LT, Drayton House
The study of Higgs bundles on an algebraic curve originated from Hitchin's work on the self-dual Yang Mills equations but have connections to a vast array of topics in differential and algebraic geometry (and even number theory). If vector bundles can be thought of as global analogues of vector spaces, Higgs bundles can be thought of as global analogues of linear endomorphisms. The Hitchin fibration on the moduli space of Higgs bundles is defined using the characteristic polynomial, and is a key tool in the study of this space. The Hitchin fibres can be described via the spectral correspondence which relate Higgs bundles on the curve to rank 1 sheaves on its spectral cover; this is in effect a diagonalisation process.

There is also a notion of Higgs bundles associated to a real group G. In the case that G is quasi-split, there is a spectral correspondence such that the Hitchin fibres can be described as abelian (or semi-abelian) varieties. Spectral correspondences have also been calculated for a number of non-quasi-split cases, all of which exhibit behaviour which is in a certain sense 'non-abelian'. I will give a spectral correspondence for the group G=U(p,q), building on the descriptions for the quasi-split cases by Schaposnik (for p=q) and Peón-Nieto (for p=q+1)
February
19
5.45 - 7.00pm

Coxeter Complexes and Bruhat-Tits buildings

Megan Masters, LSGNT - UCL
Location: B20 Jevons LT, Drayton House
In this talk, we will introduce Coxeter groups, and build simplicial complexes on which the groups act. Then, we will take unions of these complexes to create buildings, which we view as representations of algebraic groups. We will see how the concepts of galleries and shadows in Coxeter complexes help answer questions about these algebraic groups. I will finish by briefly talking about Hecke algebras in the context of Coxeter groups. In particular, I will focus on Kazhdan-Lusztig theory and the work I am trying to do. No prior knowledge of geometric group theory will be assumed or required.
February
26
5.45 - 7.00pm

How to desingularise Kummer surfaces

Álvaro González Hernández, Warwick University
Location: B20 Jevons LT, Drayton House
In introductory algebraic geometry courses, mathematics students are typically shown how to desingularise a cone by blowing up its singular point. If you have ever done this by hand and you did not find it too hard, consider now the challenge of doing this not just once, but 16 times!

In this talk, I will showcase how we can blow-up singularities in a "smarter" way, by explaining the theory that allow us to desingularise Kummer surfaces. These are K3 surfaces with 16 nodes that arise as quotients of Abelian surfaces and, besides having a very interesting birational geometry, they also have applications in number theory, as they allow us to find rational points on genus 2 curves.

This talk will provide a nice introduction to the theory of algebraic surfaces and their singularities through an example, but I also intend to mention my contributions to this topic, by describing how Kummer surfaces behave when we work over a field of characteristic 2 and explaining what we can say about their desingularisation in that case.
March
4
5.45 - 7.00pm

Stability of Cayley fibrations

Gilles Englebert, University of Oxford
Location: B20 Jevons LT, Drayton House
The SYZ conjecture is a geometric way of understanding mirror symmetry via the existence of dual special Lagrangian fibrations on mirror Calabi-Yau manifolds. Motivated by this conjecture, it is expected that G2 and Spin(7)-manifolds admit calibrated fibrations as well. After giving a quick introduction to the world of calibrated geometry, I will explain how to construct examples of such fibrations on compact Spin(7)-manifolds obtained via gluing of complex fibrations. The key ingredient is the stability of the fibration property under deformation of the ambient Spin(7)-structure, with the main difficulty being the analysis of singular fibres. On the way we talk about the deformation theory of compact and conical Cayley submanifolds and ways to desingularise singular ones.
March
11
5.45 - 7.00pm

TBA

Siao Chi Mok, University of Cambridge
Location: B20 Jevons LT, Drayton House
TBA
March
18
5.45 - 7.00pm

TBA

Yifan Zhao, LSGNT - Imperial
Location: B20 Jevons LT, Drayton House
TBA

Autumn

September
25
5.30 - 6.30pm

What is a Sheaf?

Martin Ortiz, LSGNT - Imperial
The concept of a sheaf is central in modern geometry: one can see spaces and sheaves as two sides of the same coin. In this talk I will give some examples that illustrate what a sheaf is, what one can do with them, and why they are particularly useful in algebraic geometry.
October
2
5.30 - 6.30pm

What is (co)homology?

Michela Barbieri, LSGNT - UCL
In this talk I'm going to try to give an overview of some (co)homology stuff that will come up in the topics courses. I'll start with a classical algebraic topology perspective and discuss singular/simplicial/cell (co)homologies. This sounds like a lot of information but in fact these are all the same, with simplicial/cell just being computational tools to compute singular (co)homology. Loosely speaking, the ith singular homology of a topological space X (denoted H^i(X) ) counts the 'i-dimensional holes' in your topological space X. This (co)homology theory already lets us prove some pretty cool topology theorems, such as the Brower fixed point theorem, the Hairy ball theorem, and the Borsuk Ulam Theorem. Maybe I'll discuss the proof of one of these.

There are other homology theories you're going to come across during the topics courses, such as de Rham and sheaf, so time permitting I'll mention these and how they're related to the others.
October
9
5.30 - 6.30pm

What is the uniformisation theorem?

Nick Manrique, LSGNT - Imperial
One of the most foundational and beautiful results in the theory of Riemann surfaces is the uniformisation theorem, which classifies the possibilities for their geometry completely.

In this talk we will explore some of the ideas which go into its proof, discovering some cool stuff about Dolbeault cohomology and PDEs along the way. We will also touch on some corollaries of uniformisation on other geometric structures in real dimension 2, and ask about generalisations if time permits.

A working knowledge of complex analysis and basic manifolds will be helpful.
October
16
5.30 - 6.30pm

What are characteristic classes?

Jaime Mendizabal, LSGNT - UCL
Characteristic classes are cohomology classes associated naturally to bundles, and condense important information about them into algebraic invariants. In this talk we will review some properties of some of the main types of these characteristic classes and discuss a few of their consequences.
October
23
5.30 - 6.30pm

What is a harmonic form?

Enric Solé-Farré, LSGNT - UCL/Imperial
I will review deRham cohomology and explain how the choice of a metric can be used to find representatives for the cohomology classes, that can be suitably interpreted as minimizers of a Dirichlet-type energy functional.

I will then explain how these results fit more generally in the context of elliptic operators and discuss Dolbeaut cohomology as a second example.
October
30
5.30 - 6.30pm

What is intersection theory?

Aporva Varshney, University College London
In this talk, I will give a gentle introduction to intersection theory on varieties by thinking about curves on surfaces. We'll look at the curious notion of self-intersection and construct the Hirzebruch surfaces, touching upon aspects of birational geometry such as the minimal model program and singularity theory along the way. There will be lots of drawings!
November
6
5.30 - 6.30pm

What are the geometries of low-dimensional manifolds?

Lucas Day, University College London
In this talk, we will explore the classification of manifolds from dimension zero to four: i.e. the journey from trivial to very non-trivial! The classification of closed surfaces will be explained through geometric topology (with diagrams), employing the invariants of Euler characteristic and orientability.

We will then discuss the work of Thurston and Perelman in the classification of 3-manifolds, before finishing the talk with a survey of some of the main results (and open questions!) in the classification of 4-manifolds.
November
13
5.30 - 6.30pm

What is Moser's trick?

Daniil Mamaev, LSGNT - Imperial
An important fact in elementary symplectic topology is that symplectic structures have no local invariants. This manifests in Darboux's theorem (all symplectic manifolds locally look the same), Moser's stability theorem (perturbing a symplectic form within its cohomology class does not change its diffeomorphic type), Weinstein's Lagrangian neighbourhood theorem (a neighbourhood of Lagrangian submanifold L looks like a neighbourhood of the zero section in the cotangent bundle of L), and more.

All this theorems can be proved using a simple argument, called Moser's trick, stating that families of symplectic forms with exact derivative come from families of diffeomorphisms. We will prove Moser's trick and then deduce (some of) the theorems above from it.
November
20
5.30 - 6.30pm

What is a toric variety?

Thamarai Valli Venkatachalam, LSGNT - Imperial
Toric varieties are combinatorially rich objects in algebraic geometry. All their data can be read from the combinatorial objects("fans") associated with them. In this talk, I will give a brief introduction to toric varieties, and we will see how the combinatorial data helps us in computing their class group and Picard group explicitly.
November
27
5.30 - 6.30pm

What is machine learning?

Edward Hirst, Queen Mary University of London
A selection of techniques are introduced from various subfields in machine learning, with discussion on how they are appropriately designed for use in mathematics and mathematical physics. Some results will be presented where machine learning has shown success in these areas, with focus on problems in algebraic geometry and the use of these geometries in string and M-theory.
December
4
5.30 - 6.30pm

What is Birman-Hilden theory? T for 2 : Groups, Braids and Twists

Ananya Satoskar, LSGNT - King's
The mapping class group of a manifold is the group of isotopy classes of its automorphisms; this has been widely studied in many contexts and has connections to almost every field in pure mathematics. In the 1970's, now-classic work by Birman and Hilden established a way to study mapping class groups using branched covers of the manifold, leading to beautiful and unexpected results in the theory of representations of braid groups.

In this talk, I will define the mapping class group for surfaces, along with its symplectic representation and some interesting subgroups (the Torelli group, congruence subgroups). I will then use the Birman-Hilden isomorphism to explore a classical result of Artin and Arnol'd about the generators of the level-2 braid congruence subgroup. All necessary background will be defined in the talk and there will be many pictures.
December
11
5.30 - 6.30pm

What is Persistent Homology?

Inés García Redondo, LSGNT - Imperial
In this talk, I will introduce one of the most well-known methods in Topological Data Analysis: Persistent Homology. I will begin by motivating the definition of Persistent Homology as a powerful tool to 'study the shape' of data. We will delve into persistence barcodes and diagrams, discussing their significance in data analysis. If time permits, I will introduce a generalization of persistent homology to multidimensional indexing posets, aptly named Multiparameter Persistent Homology (very original, I know). I'll touch on why this generalization drastically changes the theory in this setting, allowing me to have a topic for my PhD.