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Two Talks in Grenoble, November 2013

1. Colloquium on Thursday November 28, "The Kashiwara-Vergne Problem and Topology" - a repeat of my November 2013 Bern Colloquium:
Abstract. I will describe a general machine, a close cousin of Taylor's theorem, whose inputs are topics in topology and whose outputs are problems in algebra. There are many inputs the machine can take, and many outputs it produces, but I will concentrate on just one input/output pair. When fed with a certain class of knotted 2-dimensional objects in 4-dimensional space, it outputs the Kashiwara-Vergne Problem (1978, solved Alekseev-Meinrenken 2006, elucidated Alekseev-Torossian 2008-2011), a problem about convolutions on Lie groups and Lie algebras.

Handout: KVT.html, KVT.pdf, KVT.png. See the paper.

2. Topology seminar on Friday November 29, "Meta-Groups, Meta-Bicrossed-Products, and the Alexander Polynomial" - a repeat of my June 2013 Montreal Talk #3:

Abstract. I will define "meta-groups" and explain how one specific meta-group, which in itself is a "meta-bicrossed-product", gives rise to an "ultimate Alexander invariant" of tangles, that contains the Alexander polynomial (multivariable, if you wish), has extremely good composition properties, is evaluated in a topologically meaningful way, and is least-wasteful in a computational sense. If you believe in categorification, that's a wonderful playground.

Handout: beta.pdf, beta.html. See also my likewise-titled paper with Sam Selmani.