Topology Seminar: Shmuel Weinberger

  • Date: 01/25/2017
  • Time: 16:15
Shmuel Weinberger, University of Chicago

University of British Columbia


Quantitative Nullcobordism and the (in)effectiveness of algebraic topology.


Topology is full of ineffective arguments constructing objects and equivalences by algebra.


One of the great early achievements of algebraic topology was the work of Thom, followed by Milnor and Wall, on cobordism theory, which describes when a compact smooth (oriented) manifold is the boundary of some compact manifold with boundary. This method is typical of the problems that arise in the use of algebraic methods and is an early example of one of the dominant philosophies of geometric topology. The question we study is to what extent the complexity of a manifold can be used to bound, when it exists, the minimum necessary complexity of something that it bounds.


The goal of this talk is to explain generally some of the issues of making topology less ineffective.

We shall show that there are polynomial size nullcobordisms in a suitable sense.


This is joint work with Greg Chambers, Dominic Dotterer and Fedor Manin.

Other Information: 

Location: ESB 2012