A topological approach to convexity in complex surfaces


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March 6, 2020 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Science Center 507
Address: 1 Oxford Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 USA

Bob Gompf - UT Austin

We will discuss the classical notion of J-convexity of subsets of complex manifolds, and the closely related notion of Stein manifolds. The theory is particularly subtle in complex dimension 2. Surprisingly, progress can be made using topological 4-manifold theory. Every tame CW 2-complex topologically embedded in a complex surface can be perturbed so that it becomes J-convex in the sense of being a nested intersection of Stein open subsets. These Stein neighborhoods are all topologically equivalent to each other, but can be very different when viewed in the smooth category. As applications, we obtain uncountable families of distinct smoothings of R^4 admitting convex or concave holomorphic structures. We can also generalize the notion of J-convex hypersurfaces to the topological category. The resulting topological embeddings behave like their smooth counterparts, but are much more common.

Future schedule is found here: https://scholar.harvard.edu/gerig/seminar