October 30, 2018
Mathematics Colloquium Lecture to host 58th William J. Spencer Lecture Nov. 6
David Ben-Zvi, professor of mathematics at the University of Texas, will present the 58th William J. Spencer Lecture titled "Algebraic Geometry of Topological Field Theory" from 2:30-3:20 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6, in 102 Cardwell Hall as part of the Mathematics Department Colloquium Lecture series.
Lecture abstract: A commutative ring is gainfully understood as functions on a geometric object, the spectrum of the ring. Observables in quantum mechanics form a typically noncommutative ring, and are harder to capture with traditional geometry. However, observables in quantum field theory in space-time of dimension d > 1 - and especially in the simplified models provided by topological field theory - enjoy increasing commutativity, and thus are more amenable to a geometric description. Ben-Zvi will describe some aspects of the notion of the "spectrum" of a topological field theory, inspired by the work of Kontsevich and Soibelman on mirror symmetry (d = 2), the Seiberg-Witten geometry of supersymmetric gauge theories (d = 3 and 4), and electric-magnetic/Langlands duality (d = 4). Based on joint work with Andy Neitzke and Sam Gunningham.