Geometry and Topology

Geometry and Topology at the University of Glasgow touches on a wide range of highly active subdisciplines, benefiting from and capitalizing on strong overlap with the Algebra, Analysis, and Integrable Systems and Mathematical Physics research groups within the School of Mathematics and Statistics.

All information about our group, our members, our activities, and a full list of our expertise, can be found at our Core Structures webpage.

Our interests lie in algebraic topology, geometric group theory, low-dimensional topology and quantum geometry, to name a few.

Broadly speaking, our research – performed by undergraduates, postgraduates, postdoctoral fellows, and academic staff – is concerned with the rich interaction and deep interconnections between algebra and geometry with a view to new applications and solutions to long-standing problems.

Some background on and context for our work in low-dimensional topology, homotopy theory and homological algebra, homological invariants and categorification, geometric group theory, quantum symplectic geometry, and noncommutative topology is given at areas of focus tab below.

Staff

Dr Spiros Adams-Florou : Lecturer

Geometric Topology, Algebraic Topology, Surgery theory, Controlled Topology

Member of other research groups: Algebra

  • Personal Website
  • Publications
  • Dr Chris Athorne : Senior lecturer

    Geometric representation theory; algebraic curves;soliton theory

    Member of other research groups: Integrable Systems and Mathematical Physics

  • Personal Website
  • Publications
  • Prof Alex Bartel : Professor of Mathematics

    • Algebraic number theory:
      • Galois module structures, e.g. the structure of the ring of integers of a number field as a Galois module, or of its unit group, or of the Mordell-Weil group of an abelian variety over a number field;
      • Arithmetic statistics, especially the Cohen―Lenstra heuristics on class groups of number fields and their generalisations;
      • Arithmetic of elliptic curves over number fields.
    • Representation theory of finite groups:
      • Integral representations of finite groups;
      • Connections between the Burnside ring and the representation ring of a finite group;
      • Applications of the above to number theory and geometry.
    • Geometry and topology:
      • Actions of finite groups of low-dimensional manifolds.

    Member of other research groups: Algebra
    Research student: Ross Paterson

  • Personal Website
  • Prof Gwyn Bellamy : Professor of Mathematics

    My research interests are in geometric representation theory and its connections to algebraic geometry and algebraic combinatorics. In particular, I am interested in all aspects of symplectic representations, including symplectic reflection algebras, resolutions of symplectic singularties, D-modules and deformation-quantization algebras.

    Member of other research groups: Algebra
    Research students: Niall Hird, Samuel (Sam) Lewis, Kellan Steele, Simone Castellan, Ross Paterson

  • Personal Website
  • Publications
  • Dr Tara Brendle : Professor of Mathematics

    Geometric group theory; mapping class groups of surfaces; low-dimensional topology

    Member of other research groups: Algebra
    Research students: Tudur Lewis, Luke Jeffreys

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  • Publications
  • Dr Kenneth A Brown : Professor of Mathematics

    Noncommutative algebra; Hopf algebras; homological algebra

    Member of other research groups: Algebra
    Research student: Miguel Couto

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  • Publications
  • Dr Mikhail Feigin : Senior lecturer

    Frobenius manifolds

    Member of other research groups: Integrable Systems and Mathematical Physics, Algebra
    Research students: Maali Alkadhem, Leo Kaminski, Georgios Antoniou, Johan Wright

  • Personal Website
  • Publications
  • Dr Maxime Fortier-Bourque : Lecturer

  • Personal Website
  • Dr Vaibhav Gadre : Lecturer

    Teichmuller Dynamics, Mapping Class Groups. 

    Member of other research groups: Algebra
    Research students: Luke Jeffreys, Tudur Lewis

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  • Publications
  • Dr Ana Lecuona : Lecturer

    Low dimensional topology; knot theory; interactions between 3 and 4 dimensional manifolds.

    Research students: Elizaveta Lokteva, Tanushree Shah, Weizhe Niu

  • Personal Website
  • Dr Brendan Owens : Senior lecturer

    Low-dimensional topology: knots, 3-manifolds, smooth 4-manifolds

    Research students: Cheng Chen, Weizhe Niu, Daniel Waite, Vitalijs Brejevs, Miguel Rodriguez, Tanushree Shah

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  • Publications
  • Dr Greg Stevenson : Lecturer

    Member of other research groups: Algebra
    Research students: David Murphy, James Rowe, Hao Zhang

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  • Publications
  • Prof Ian A B Strachan :  Professor of Mathematical Physics

    Geometry and integrable systems; Frobenius manifolds; Bi-Hamiltonian structures, twistor theory and self-duality

    Member of other research groups: Integrable Systems and Mathematical Physics
    Research student: Georgios Antoniou

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  • Publications
  • Dr Christian Voigt : Senior lecturer

    Noncommutative geometry; K-theory; Quantum groups

    Member of other research groups: Analysis, Algebra
    Research students: Jamie Antoun, Owen Tanner

  • Personal Website
  • Publications
  • Dr James Walton : Research Assistant

    Member of other research groups: Analysis

  • Personal Website
  • Dr Andy Wand : Senior lecturer

    Research students: Vitalijs Brejevs, Miguel Rodriguez, Elizaveta Lokteva, Tanushree Shah

  • Personal Website
  • Publications
  • Prof Michael Wemyss : Professor of Mathematics

    Algebraic geometry and its interactions, principally between noncommutative and homological algebra, resolutions of singularities, and the minimal model program.  All related structures, including: deformation theory, derived categories, stability conditions, associated commutative and homological structures and their representation theory, curve invariants, McKay correspondence, Cohen--Macaulay modules, finite dimensional algebras and cluster-tilting theory.

    Member of other research groups: Algebra
    Research students: Sarah Kelleher (Mackie), Ogier Van Garderen, Hao Zhang, Samuel (Sam) Lewis

  • Personal Website
  • Publications
  • Dr Mike Whittaker : Lecturer

    Noncommutative geometry, topological dynamical systems, fractal geometry, and aperiodic substitution tilings.

    Member of other research groups: Analysis, Algebra
    Research students: Dimitrios Gerontogiannis , Kate Gibbins, Mustafa Ozkaraca, Jamie Antoun, Cheng Chen

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  • Publications
  • Dr Andrew Wilson : Lecturer

    ,

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  • Publications
  • Dr Joachim Zacharias : Reader

    C*-algebras, their classification and amenability properties; special examples of C*-algebras; K-theory and non commutative topology, noncommutative dynamical systems, geometric group theory with applications to C*-algebras.

    Member of other research groups: Integrable Systems and Mathematical Physics, Analysis, Algebra
    Research student: Dimitrios Gerontogiannis

  • Personal Website
  • Publications

  • Postgraduates

    Jamie Antoun : PhD Student

    Supervisors: Christian Voigt, Mike Whittaker

  • Vitalijs Brejevs : PhD Student

    Supervisors: Andy Wand, Brendan Owens
    6880

  • Simone Castellan : PhD Student

    Research Topic: Short star products in (Poisson) vertex algebras
    Member of other research groups: Integrable Systems and Mathematical Physics, Algebra
    Supervisors: Daniele Valeri, Gwyn Bellamy

  • Mel Chen : PhD Student

    Supervisor: Liam Watson

  • Luke Jeffreys : PhD Student

    Research Topic: Teichmüller dynamics
    Member of other research groups: Algebra
    Supervisors: Vaibhav Gadre, Tara Brendle

  • Personal Website
  • Leo Kaminski : PhD Student

    Research Topic: Special solutions of WDVV equations
    Member of other research groups: Integrable Systems and Mathematical Physics, Algebra
    Supervisor: Mikhail Feigin

  • Alan Lazarus : PhD Student

    Supervisor: Dirk Husmeier

  • Samuel (Sam) Lewis : PhD Student

    Research Topic: The derived geometry of moduli spaces
    Supervisors: Gwyn Bellamy, Michael Wemyss

  • Tudur Lewis : PhD Student

    Research Topic: Mapping class groups and related structures.
    Member of other research groups: Algebra
    Supervisors: Tara Brendle, Vaibhav Gadre

  • Elizaveta Lokteva : PhD Student

    Research Topic: Slice disks and interactions between 3 and 4 dimensional topology.
    Supervisors: Ana Lecuona, Andy Wand

  • Publications
  • Weizhe Niu : PhD Student

    Research Topic: Embedding problems in low-dimensional topology
    Supervisors: Brendan Owens, Ana Lecuona

  • Tanushree Shah : PhD Student

    Supervisors: Ana Lecuona, Brendan Owens, Andy Wand

  • Kellan Steele : PhD Student

    Member of other research groups: Algebra
    Supervisor: Gwyn Bellamy

  • Owen Tanner : PhD Student

    Research Topic: Topological full groups and continuous orbit equivalence.
    Member of other research groups: Algebra
    Supervisors: Xin Li, Christian Voigt

  • Ogier Van Garderen : PhD Student

    Member of other research groups: Algebra
    Supervisor: Michael Wemyss

  • Daniel Waite : PhD Student

    Supervisor: Brendan Owens

  • Hao Zhang : PhD Student

    Research Topic: Bridgeland stability manifolds of Divisor to Curve Contractions
    Member of other research groups: Algebra
    Supervisors: Michael Wemyss, Greg Stevenson



  • Research Areas of Focus

    Low-dimensional topology

    Geometry and topology is particularly interesting and rich in low dimensions, namely, the dimensions of the universe we inhabit. This includes dimensions three and four as well as how knots and surfaces can inhabit these spaces. As a result, there is also a strong connection with mapping class groups of surfaces. Since the 1980s, gauge theory techniques from theoretical physics have been the leading tools for understanding smooth topology in four-dimensions. In the 21st century new approaches, in particular Heegaard Floer theory, have expanded the reach of these tools to three-dimensions, as well as to the study of knots and surfaces, and made fascinating connections with Khovanov homology — a theory that seems to stem from completely different origins.

    People: Tara Brendle, Brendan Owens

    Homotopy theory and homological algebra

    Algebraic topology grew out of classical point-set topology giving rise to a theory of algebraic invariants of spaces (and maps between them) up to a natural notion of equivalence called homotopy. However, in recent decades these ideas have seeped into many other areas of mathematics and theoretical physics, often providing new frameworks for handling old problems. Abstract homotopy theory, then, provides a general algebraic framework for studying deformation; this has strong interaction with the general study of category theory. Stable homotopy theory involves the underlying structure of homology and cohomology theories and is usually pursued by working with a suitable generalization of spaces — called spectra — in which negative dimensions make sense. This is not unlike the birth of the complex numbers from considerations of √-1! There are rich algebraic structures available in modern versions of these categories and topics such as E∞ ring spectra lead to extensions of classical algebraic topics (Galois theory and Morita theory, for example).

    People: Gwyn Bellamy, Ken Brown

    Homological invariants and categorification

    How can you determine if two knots are different in an essential way? One good way is to produce an algebraic invariant to tell them apart. For example, Khovanov categorification of the Jones polynomial gives rise to an invariant of links in the three-sphere in the form of a bi-graded homology theory. This has seen a range of interesting applications in low-dimensional topology while providing a point of departure to many generalisations — now touching on homotopy theory, gauge theory and physics. But this seems to be just the tip of an iceberg: Categorification is now an essential tool in algebraic geometry and geometric representation theory. This, in turn, continues to feed back into low-dimensional topology by providing a range of new invariants stemming from diagrammatic algebras.

    People: Gwyn Bellamy, Christian Korff Brendan Owens

    Geometric group theory.

    Geometric group theory studies groups by connecting their algebraic properties to the topological and geometric properties of spaces on which they act. Sometimes the group itself is treated as a geometric object; occasionally auxiliary structures on the group, such as orders, arise naturally. The field emerged as a distinct area in the late 1980s and has many interactions with other parts of mathematics, including computational group theory, low-dimensional topology, algebraic topology, hyperbolic geometry, the study of Lie groups and their discrete subgroups and K-theory.

    People: Tara Brendle

    Quantum symplectic geometry

    Motivated by the key notion of quantization in quantum mechanics, quantum geometry (or, non-commutative geometry) aims to apply the tools and techniques of non-commuative algebra to study problems in geometry. In the opposite direction, it allows one to use powerful geometric tools to study the representation theory of non-commuative algebras, as epitomized by the famous Beilinson-Bernstein localization theorem. At Glasgow, we study quantum symplectic geometry from several different perspectives — via the theory of D-modules and deformation-quantization algebras on a symplectic manifold; via the deformation theory of Hopf algebras and their relation to operads; and via quantum integrable systems such as the quantum Calogero-Moser system. Taking such a broad approach to the subject allows one to see how truly interconnected these areas of mathematics really are.

    People: Gwyn Bellamy, Ken Brown, Misha Feign,

    Noncommutative Topology

    This relatively young field grows out of the Gelfand-Naimark theorem, establishing a strong connection between compact Hausdorff spaces and commutative C*-algebras. This allows us to translate topology into algebra and functional analysis. Even more, once formulated algebraically, some of these concepts still make sense for noncommutative C*-algebras, opening the door to study these algebras using ideas from topology. The truly fascinating fact, however, is that the study of noncommutative C*-algebras in turn has deep applications to classical topology and geometry. For instance, the Baum-Connes conjecture, which is a central aspect of the noncommutative topology of groups, implies the Novikov conjecture on higher signatures and the stable Gromov-Lawson-Rosenberg conjecture on the existence of positive scalar curvature metrics. At Glasgow, various aspects of noncommutative topology are studied, ranging from the classification program for nuclear C*-algebras to quantum groups and bivariant K-theory, including links with geometric group theory.

    People: Christian Voigt, Stuart White, Joachim Zacharias