Math Science Lectures in Honor of Raoul Bott, Oct. 4–5, 2021

On October 4–5, 2021, the CMSA hosted the virtual Math Science Lectures in Honor of Raoul Bott. Talks were given by Michael Freedman (Microsoft).

Watch the talks in the Youtube playlist, below.

Lecture 1: The universe from a single particle

Abstract: I will explore a toy model for our universe in which spontaneous symmetry breaking – acting on the level of operators (not states) – can produce the interacting physics we see about us from the simpler, single particle, quantum mechanics we study as undergraduates. Based on joint work with Modj Shokrian Zini, see arXiv:2011.05917 and arXiv:2108.12709 .

Lecture 2: Controlled Mather Thurston theorems

Abstract: The “c-principle” is a cousin of Gromov’s h-principle in which cobordism rather than homotopy is required to (canonically) solve a problem. We show that in certain well-known c-principle contexts only the mildest cobordisms, semi-s-cobordisms, are required. In physical applications, the extra topology (a perfect fundamental group) these cobordisms introduce could easily be hidden in the UV. This leads to a proposal to recast gauge theories such as EM and the standard model in terms of flat connections rather than curvature. See arXiv:2006.00374