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401-4531-66L  Topics in Rigidity Theory

SemesterAutumn Semester 2016
LecturersM. Burger
Periodicitynon-recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish

Catalogue data

AbstractThe aim of this course is to give detailed proofs of Margulis' normal subgroup theorem and his superrigidity theorem for lattices in higher rank Lie groups.
ObjectiveUnderstand the basic techniques of rigidity theory.
ContentThis course gives an introduction to rigidity theory, which is a set of techniques initially invented to understand the structure of a certain class of discrete subgroups of Lie groups, called lattices, and currently used in more general contexts of groups arising as isometries of non-positively curved geometries. A prominent example of a lattice in the Lie group SL(n, R) is the group SL(n, Z) of integer n x n matrices with determinant 1. Prominent questions concerning this group are:
- Describe all its proper quotients.
- Classify all its finite dimensional linear representations.
- More generally, can this group act by diffeomorphisms on "small" manifolds like the circle?
- Does its Cayley graph considered as a metric space at large scale contain enough information to recover the group structure?
In this course we will give detailed treatment for the answers to the first two questions; they are respectively Margulis' normal subgroup theorem and Margulis' superrigidity theorem. These results, valid for all lattices in simple Lie groups of rank at least 2 --like SL(n, R), with n at least 3-- lead to the arithmeticity theorem, which says that all lattices are obtained by an arithmetic construction.
Literature- R. Zimmer: "Ergodic Theory and Semisimple groups", Birkhauser 1984.
- D. Witte-Morris: "Introduction to Arithmetic groups", available on Arxiv
- Y. Benoist: "Five lectures on lattices in semisimple Lie groups", available on his homepage.
- M.Burger: "Rigidity and Arithmeticity", European School of Group Theory, 1996, handwritten notes, will be put online.
Prerequisites / NoticeFor this course some knowledge of elementary Lie theory would be good. We will however treat Lie groups by examples and avoid structure theory since this is not the point of the course nor of the techniques.

Performance assessment

Performance assessment information (valid until the course unit is held again)
Performance assessment as a semester course
ECTS credits6 credits
ExaminersM. Burger
Typesession examination
Language of examinationEnglish
RepetitionThe performance assessment is offered every session. Repetition possible without re-enrolling for the course unit.
Mode of examinationoral 20 minutes
This information can be updated until the beginning of the semester; information on the examination timetable is binding.

Learning materials

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Only public learning materials are listed.


401-4531-66 GTopics in Rigidity Theory3 hrs
Thu13-16HG F 26.5 »
M. Burger


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Offered in

Doctoral Department of MathematicsGraduate SchoolWInformation
Mathematics MasterSelection: GeometryWInformation