Date
 Speaker
 Title (click on titles to show/hide abstracts)

Jan 11 (O) 
Alistair Savage (Ottawa) 
Universal categories.
Abstract:
Universal constructions are ubiquitous in mathematics. For example, the polynomial ring is uniquely characterized by a universal property for commutative rings. Other examples include free monoids, free groups, and tensor algebras. In this mainly expository talk we will discuss an analogous, but somewhat less well known, concept on the level of categories. In particular, we will see how one can define categories that are determined by universal properties. Examples include the TemperleyLieb category (the free monoidal category on a selfdual object), the Brauer category (the free symmetric monoidal category on a selfdual object), and the oriented Brauer category (the free symmetric monoidal category on a pair of dual objects). We will discuss intuitive diagrammatic descriptions of these categories and how these universal constructions allow one to easily find deep symmetries in a wide range of categories.

Jan 18 (O) 
Maiko Serizawa (Ottawa) 
Twisted foldings, moment graphs, and their applications to geometry.
Abstract:
In this talk, we will explore the construction of twisted quadratic folding for finite crystallographic root systems.
Twisted folding of a root system is a generalized notion of its classical counterpart, and it allows us to ``fold"
some of those root systems that were not foldable in the classical setup, such as root systems of type $E_8$ and
some of its subsystems, into smaller root systems. However, one twist occurs here  it is that unlike classical
foldings, the outcome, though finite, may not necessarily be crystallographic. In the second part of the talk, we bring
another key thread into our picture, namely the notion of a moment graph for finite Coxeter groups and their structure algebras and observe how the folding of a root system induces a map on the level of their structure algebras.
In the last part of the talk, we will touch some of the dictionaries established between sheaves over moment graphs
and the geometry of the corresponding flag varieties, and indicate how the twisted folding of a root system could
apply to the study of geometric questions. The content of this talk comprises the startup of my PhD research project.
It is expository, and will be delivered with descriptive examples throughout.

Feb 1 (O) 
Cameron Ruether (Ottawa) 
Rost multipliers of Kronecker tensor products.
Abstract:
We extend the techniques employed by Garibaldi to construct a map
SP_{2n}xSP_{2m}>Spin_{4nm}
for all values of n and m. We then show how, depending on the parities of
n and m, this map induces injections between central quotients, for example
PSP_{2n}xPSP_{2m}>HSpin_{4nm}
when n and m are not both odd. Additionally, we calculate the Rost multipliers for each map we have constructed.

Feb 8 (O) 
Daniel Daigle (Ottawa) 
Locally nilpotent derivations and rationality.
Abstract:
Let X be an affine algebraic variety over a field k of characteristic zero and let B = k[X] be the coordinate algebra of X. If B admits “many” locally nilpotent derivations D : B —> B, then does it follow that X is a rational variety? I will talk about the history of this question and some recent results.

Feb 22 (C) 
Dmitry Logachev (UFA Brazil) 
Polynomial equations over finite fields coming from a formula for analytic rank of twisted Carlitz modules.
Abstract:
Drinfeld modules (Carlitz modules are their particular cases)
are analogs of elliptic curves over functional fields. There
are notions of their twists, Lfunctions and analytic rank
(order of 0 of Lfunctions at some points). It turns out that
the sets of twists whose analytic rank is greater than some
fixed number, is an algebraic variety over a finite field.
Polynomials defining these varieties come from some
resultantaltype matrices.
Some problems of further research will be presented. It is not
necessary to know the theory of Drinfeld modules: all relevant
definitions will be done.
