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NorCal Symplectic Seminar: Symplectic and complex geometric aspects of 3-manifold embedding problem in 4-space

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Speaker: Bulent Tosun, University of Alabama
Start time: Mon, Apr 5 2021, 2:30PM

The problem of embedding one manifold into another has a long, rich history, and proved to be tremendously important for development of geometric topology since the 1950s. In this talk I will focus on the 3-manifold embedding problem in 4-space. Given a closed, orientable 3-manifold Y, it is of great interest but often a difficult problem to determine whether Y may be smoothly embedded in $\mathbb{R}^4$. This is the case even for integer homology spheres, and restricting to special classes such as Seifert manifolds, the problem is open in general, with positive answers for some such manifolds and negative answers in other cases. On the other hand, under additional geometric considerations coming from symplectic geometry (such as hypersurfaces of contact type) and complex geometry (such as the boundaries of holomorphically or rationally or polynomially convex Stein domains), the problems become tractable and in certain cases a uniform answer is possible. For example, recent work shows for Brieskorn homology spheres: no such 3-manifold admits an embedding as a hypersurface of contact type in $\mathbb{R}^4$. This implies restrictions on the topology of rationally and polynomially convex domains in $\mathbb{C}^2$. In this talk I will provide further context and motivations for these results, and give some details of the proof. This is joint work with Tom Mark.