$L^2$ harmonic forms in geometry and string theory

March 17 to March 21, 2004

at the

American Institute of Mathematics, Palo Alto, California

organized by

Tamas Hausel, Eugenie Hunsicker, and Rafe Mazzeo

This workshop, sponsored by AIM and the NSF, will be devoted to bringing together mathematicians and physicists who are working on the circle of ideas concerning:

Hodge theory plays a central role in geometric analysis and algebraic geometry, and many sophisticated mathematical tools have been developed to understand the relationship of L2 harmonic differential forms on singular or noncompact spaces to the underlying topology of these spaces. Important milestones in this development include the signature theorem for manifolds with boundary due to Atiyah-Patodi-Singer, the relationship between Hodge theory on spaces with conic singularities and intersection cohomology theory, as developed originally by Cheeger, the work of Zucker, Stern and Saper on L2 cohomology of (Hermitian) locally symmetric spaces, as well as other more recent works by Carron and Hitchin, to mention just a few.

Recently and quite independently, ideas related to duality in string theory have led physicists to a series of questions and conjectures concerning L2 harmonic forms on various classes of noncompact manifolds. Perhaps the most famous of these is the `Sen conjecture' which makes predictions about the L2 cohomology of the monopole moduli spaces over R3 (with respect to their natural hyperKahler metrics); several other related conjectures appear in papers of Vafa and Witten, Brandhuber, Gomis, Gubser and Gukov, and other work of Sen.

The motivation for this workshop is that physicists are generating many important new ideas and directions in this field, concerning Hodge theory on various classes of complete manifolds with special holonomy (e.g. gravitational instantons, G2 manifolds, etc.). As is often the case when mathematics and physics connect in new ways, the mathematical community has yet to absorb many of these ideas, and likewise, the physicists are not always aware of some of the newer and more powerful mathematical techniques which have been developed in this area. This makes it a very propitious time to try to bridge this gap.

The workshop will differ from typical conferences in some regards. Participants will be invited to suggest open problems and questions before the workshop begins, and these will be posted on the workshop website. These include specific problems on which there is hope of making some progress during the workshop, as well as more ambitious problems which may influence the future activity of the field. Lectures at the workshop will be focused on familiarizing the participants with the background material leading up to specific problems, and the schedule will include discussion and working sessions.

Invited participants include B. Ammann, R. Bielawski, J. Bruening, G. Carron, J. Cheeger, S. Cherkis, M. Cvetic, X. Dai, A. Degeratu, G. Etesi, E. Gasparim, B. Goetz, J. Gomis, D. Grieser, M. Gualtieri, M. Haskins, T. Hausel, E. Hunsicker, M. Jardim, K. Lee, Y. Lim, M. Marcolli, J. Martens, R. Mazzeo, R. Melrose, S. Paycha, L. Saper, E. Silverstein, M. Singer, X. Wang, and N. Yeganefar.

The deadline to apply for support to participate in this workshop has passed.

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