Patricia Cahn’s talk at the Geometry/Topology seminar (October 9th, 4pm)

Title: Algebras counting intersections and self-intersections of curves

Abstract: Goldman and Turaev discovered a Lie bialgebra structure on the vector space generated by free homotopy classes of loops on an oriented surface. Goldman’s Lie bracket gives a lower bound on the minimum number of intersection points of two loops in two given free homotopy classes. Turaev’s Lie cobracket gives a lower bound on the minimum number of self-intersection points of a loop in a given free homotopy class. Chas showed that these bounds are not equalities in general. We show that for other operations, namely, the Andersen-Mattes-Reshetikhin Poisson bracket and a new operation μ, the corresponding bounds are always equalities. Some of this is joint work with Vladimir Chernov.

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