Talks at UCLA. Please contact Li-Sheng Tseng if you plan to attend and would like to carpool.
Peter Lambert-Cole (Georgia Tech): Bridge trisections and the Thom conjecture
The classical degree-genus formula computes the genus of a nonsingular algebraic curve in the complex projective plane. The well-known Thom conjecture posits that this is a lower bound on the genus of smoothly embedded, oriented and connected surface in CP2. The conjecture was first proved twenty-five years ago by Kronheimer and Mrowka, using Seiberg-Witten invariants. In this talk, we will describe a new proof of the conjecture that combines contact geometry with the novel theory of bridge trisections of knotted surfaces. Notably, the proof completely avoids any gauge theory or pseudoholomorphic curve techniques.
James Conway (UC Berkeley): Classifying contact structures on hyperbolic 3-manifolds
Two of the most basic questions in contact topology are which manifolds admit tight contact structures, and on those that do, can we classify such structures. In dimension 3, these questions have been answered for large classes of manifolds, but with a notable absence of hyperbolic manifolds. In this talk, we will see a new classification of contact structures on an family of hyperbolic 3-manifolds arising from Dehn surgery on the figure-eight knot, and see how it suggests some structural results about tight contact structures. This is joint work with Hyunki Min.