# Algebraic Geometry

## Birational geometry and algebraic cycles

A fundamental problem of algebraic geometry is to determine which algebraic varieties are rational, that is, isomorphic to projective space after removing lower-dimensional subvarieties from both sides. We discuss the history of the problem. Some dramatic progress in the past 5 years uses a new tool in this context: the Chow group of algebraic cycles.

## Automorphism groups in algebraic geometry

The talk will first present some classical results on the automorphisms of complex projective curves (or alternatively, of compact Riemann surfaces). We will then discuss the automorphism groups of projective algebraic varieties of higher dimensions; in particular, their "connected part" (which can be arbitrary) and their "discrete part" (of which little is known).

## Signs of abelian varieties and representations

The sign is a fundamental invariant of an abelian variety defined over a local (archimedian or p-adic) or global (number or function) field. The sign of an abelian varieties over a global field has arithmetic significance: it is the parity of Mordell-Weil group of the abelian variety. The sign also appears in the functional equation of the L-function of abelian variety, determining the parity of its order of vanishing at s=1. The modularity conjecture says that this L-function coincides with the L-function of an automorphic representation, and the sign can be expressed in terms of this representation. Although we know how to compute this sign using representation theory, this computation does not really shed any light on the representation theoretic significance of the sign. This representation theoretic significance was articulated first by Dipendra Prasad (in his thesis), where he relates the sign of a representation to branching laws — laws that govern how an irreducible group representation decomposes when restricted to a subgroup. The globalization of Prasad’s theory culminates in the conjectures of Gan, Gross and Prasad. These conjectures suggest non-torsion elements in Mordell-Weil groups of abelian varieties can be obstructions to the existence of branching laws. By exploiting p-adic variation, though, one can hope to actually produce the Mordell-Weil elements giving rise to these obstructions. Aspects of this last point are joint work with Marco Seveso.

## The Work of Misha Gromov, a Truly Original Thinker

The work of Misha Gromov has revolutionized geometry in many respects, but at the same time introduced a geometric point of view in many questions. His impact is very broad and one can say without exaggeration that many fields are not the same after the introduction of Gromov's ideas.I will try and explain several avenues that Gromov has been pursuing, stressing the changes in points of view that he brought in non-technical terms.Here is a list of topics that the lecture will touch:

- The h-Principle
- Distance and Riemannian Geometry
- Group Theory and Negative Curvature
- Symplectic Geometry
- A wealth of Geometric Invariants
- Interface with other Sciences
- Conceptualizing Concept Creation

## Ben Green: the Sylvester-Gallai Theorem

These pictures are of a lecture given by Ben Green on the Sylvester-Gallai Theorem

## On the Sylvester-Gallai Theorem

The Sylvester-Gallai Theorem states that, given any set P of n points in the plane not all on one line, there is at least one line through precisely two points of P. Such a line is called an ordinary line. How many ordinary lines must there be? The Sylvester-Gallai Theorem says that there must be at least one but, in recent joint work with T. Tao, we have shown that there must be at least n/2 if n is even and at least 3n/4 - C if n is odd, provided that n is sufficiently large. These results are sharp

Photos of this event are also available.

## Expanders, Group Theory, Arithmetic Geometry, Cryptography and Much More

This is a lecture given on the occasion of the launch of the PIMS CRG in "L-functions and Number Theory".

The theory of expander graphs is undergoing intensive development. It finds more and more applications to diverse areas of mathematics. In this talk, aimed at a general audience, I will introduce the concept of expander graphs and discuss some interesting connections to arithmetic geometry, group theory and cryptography, including some very recent breakthroughs.

## Frozen Boundaries and Log Fronts

In this talk, based on joint work with Richard Kenyon and Grisha Mikhalkin, Andrei Okounkov discusses a binary operation on plane curves which

- generalizes classical duality for plane curves and
- arises naturally in probabilistic context,

namely as a facet boundary in certain random surface models.