Math Science Lectures in Honor of Raoul Bott: Michael Freedman

10/04/2021 11:00 am - 12:30 pm

On October 4th and October 5th, 2021, Harvard CMSA hosted the annual Math Science Lectures in Honor of Raoul Bott. This year’s speaker was Michael Freedman (Microsoft). The lectures took place on Zoom.

This will be the third annual lecture series held in honor of Raoul Bott.

Lecture 1
October 4th, 11:00am (Boston time)
Title: 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
October 5th, 11:00am (Boston time)
Title: 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