Nils Carqueville (UniVie)
Catherine Meusburger (Erlangen)
Gregor Schaumann (Würzburg)
Claudia Scheimbauer (TUM)

Higher Structures & Field Theory Seminar

in brief

biweekly, Thursdays 3-5 pm central European time virtually


Originally, this seminar on quantum algebra, quantum topology and mathematical physics was supposed to strengthen regional connections by meeting once or twice per semester. However, due to well-known reasons, it will now take place virtually and more regularly instead. It will run biweekly, on Thursdays at 3-5 pm central European time.


Of course we will meet virtually! We plan to use Big Blue Button, but reserve to switch to zoom in case of mishaps. More information on connecting can be found here: Technical information for speakers
Please sign up for our mailing list as we will send out the connection information there. (Note that we have to accept your request to avoid spam, so if your email address is not an institutional address or self-explanatory about who you are, please leave your name and institution, or send us a clarifying email.)


The speakers in the summer semester 2021 are:
April 22 Pavel Safronov (Edinburgh)
Rozansky--Witten TQFT

In this talk I will review a 3-dimensional TQFT defined by Rozansky and Witten. This theory is a 3-dimensional analog of the 2d B-model and it has recently seen a resurgence of interest due to its appearance in 3- dimensional mirror symmetry. I will recall what this is. I will also explain some old and new results on mathematical formalizations of TQFT invariants in dimensions ≤ 2.

May 6 Juliet Cooke (MPIM Bonn)

May 20 Theo Johnson-Freyd (Dalhousie & PI)

June 10 Lóránt Szegedy (Vienna)

June 24 David Reutter (MPIM Bonn)

July 8 Lukas Müller (MPIM Bonn)


Nov. 25 Konrad Waldorf (Greifswald)
Connes fusion of spinors on loop space

I will talk about some progress with the problem to exhibit the 2d supersymmetric sigma model as a smooth and fully extended functorial field theory (FFT), which is part of the Stolz-Teichner programme. The spinor bundle on the loop space of a string manifold is the value of that FFT on circles. I describe a Connes fusion product on this spinor bundle, which produces the assignment of the FFT on a pair of pants, and at the same time gives an ansatz how to extend the FFT down to the point. This work combines operator algebras, infinite-dimensional representation theory and higher-categorical geometry, and is joint with Peter Kristel.

Dec. 9 Adrien Brochier (Paris 6)
Skein categories and higher genus associators

The theory of Drinfeld associators leads to universal representations of the categories of braids and tangles into some categories of Feynman diagrams. This provides powerful topological invariants, and is also deeply related to deformation-quantization. On the other hand, the formalism of skein categories, an ancestor of factorization homology, produces out of a ribbon category a certain TFT like construction of representations of braid groups and tangles in any oriented surface. Hence, plugging the category of diagrams into this machine one might hope to obtain higher genus analogs of Drinfeld associators. I'll explain why this doesn't quite works and how to make it work. We recover this way a combinatorial formula due to Calaque-Enriquez- Etingof for elliptic analogs of associators. Time permitting, I'll explain how this relates to quantizations of character varieties and to the Riemann-Hilbert correspondence.

Jan. 13 Danica Kosanovic (Paris 13)
Knot invariants from homotopy theory

Embedding calculus of Goodwillie and Weiss is a certain homotopy theoretic technique for studying spaces of embeddings. When applied to the space of knots this method gives a sequence of knot invariants which are conjectured to be universal Vassiliev invariants. This is remarkable since such invariants have been constructed only rationally so far and many questions about possible torsion remain open. In this talk I will present some explicit computations and outline why these knot invariants are surjections. This confirms one half of the universality conjecture, and confirms it rationally, and p-adically in a range. We also prove some missing cases of the Goodwillie-Klein connectivity estimates.

Jan. 27 Matthias Ludewig (Regensburg)
Construction of the supersymmetric path integral

The task of rigorously constructing the path integral for the N=1/2 supersymmetric sigma-model has sparked a lot of research activity in the last 30 years, after it was used by Atiyah to give a short, but formal, proof of the Atiyah-Singer index theorem. In geometric terms, this path integral is just an integration functional for differential forms on the loop space of a spin manifold X, which is, however, ill-defined due to the infinite-dimensionality of the loop space. In this talk, we present a construction of this path integral using cyclic cohomology of the dg algebra of differential forms on X, which is connected to loop space forms via Chen’s iterated integral map. We then explain the connection to path integral formulae using Pfaffians and the Wiener measure. This is joint work with B. Güneysu and F. Hanisch.

Feb. 10 Tashi Walde (TU München)
Higher Segal spaces via higher excision

Higher Segal spaces form an interesting hierarchy of higher structures which generalize the classical Segal spaces used to encode homotopy coherent associative structures. In this talk I explain some basic aspects of their theory and show how one can understand higher Segal spaces conceptually in analogy to functor/manifold calculus.