Categorification, Lie algebras and topology
Ben Webster (MIT/Oregon)  Oberseminar Darstellungstheorie DAS
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When 
Jul 05, 2010 from 04:00 pm to 05:00 pm 
Where  Raum 0.006, MathematikZentrum, Endenicher Allee 60 
Contact Name  sachinidis 
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It's a long established principle that an interesting way to think about numbers as the sizes of sets or dimensions of vector spaces, or better yet, the Euler characteristic of complexes. You can't have a map between numbers, but you can have one between sets or vector spaces. For example, Euler characteristic of topological spaces is not functorial, but homology is. One can try to extend this idea to a bigger stage, by, say, taking a vector space, and trying to make a category by defining morphisms between its vectors. This approach (interpreted suitably) has been a remarkable success with the representation theory of semisimple Lie algebras (and their associated quantum groups). I'll give an introduction to this area, with a view toward applications in topology; in particular to replacing polynomial invariants of knots that come from representation theory with vector space valued invariants that reduce to knot polynomials under Euler characteristic.