S.P.Novikov Seminar
From the left to the right: B.A.Dubrovin, S.P.Tsarev, P.M.Akhmetiev,
V.M.Buchstaber, S.P.Novikov, A.P.Veselov, I.M.Krichever, O.I.Mokhov, I.A.Taimanov.
Edinburgh University, 1998.
Full picture
The S.P.Novikov Seminar came into being in the midsixties. S.P.Novikov's
works on the topology of foliations and on the topological invariance of
rational Pontryagin classes were concluded in 1965. A new stage of research
was about to begin, devoted to extraordinary (generalized) cohomology theories
: complex cobodisms and Ktheory. Novikov's older pupils (e.g. V.L.Golo)
had moved on to other fields.
By that time Ktheory had become extremely popular in wide circles of
the mathematical community in connection with the work of M.Atiyah and
I.Singer on the index of elliptic operators; besides, J.F.Adams discovered
brilliant applications of Ktheory in topology itself: the number of linearly
independent vector fields on spheres was found, important subgroups in
the stable homotopy groups of spheres were computed (the image of Whitehead's
Jhomomorphism). The possibility of constructing regular methods, based
on Ktheory, for the computation of homotopy groups (in particular those
of spheres), more effective than the classical methods of CartanSerreAdams,
was being discussed (the Adams program).
Among the participants of the seminar during the first twothree years,
the names of V.Bukhshtaber, A.Mishchenko, I.Bernstein, I.Volodin, S.Smirnov,
S.Vishik, and F.Bogomolov should be singled out.
In 196667 S.P.Novikov [49] carried out his own program, creating methods
for the regular computation of stable homotopy groups on the basis of complex
cobodisms. It turned out that the Adams program for creating such methods
on the basis of Ktheory could not be realized in principle. In contrast,
the new techniques of complex cobodisms were extremely rich in ideas and
applications to topology and algebra, namely:
formal groups, together with their applications in homotopy theory as
well as in the study of fixed points of finite and compact transformation
groups of smooth manifolds, including the remarquable properties of elliptic
genera ([50], [11], [5], [31], [34], [59], [38]) discovered much later;
the theory of multivalued formal groups, together with its applications
to topology, algebra, analysis, including the relationship with generalized
shift operator theory ([12], [6], [7], [8]);
the algebra of operations from complex cobordism theory with its numerous
topological applications and beautiful intrinsic algebraic structure that
later led to the "operator (Heisenberg) double" of Hopf algebras, which
is the quantum analog of the algebra of differential operators on a Lie
group ([49], [13], [58], [9]).
These ideas are developed in the article by V.Bukhshtaber which also
contains new results in this direction.
By the end of the sixties, the participants of the seminar, as well
as its subject matter, changed noticeably. The research interests of several
participants, e.g. I.Berstein and S.Vishik, shifted to other fields of
mathematics. A whole new generation of extremely talented young researchers
appeared in the seminar: G.Kasparov, O.Bogoyavlenskii, S.GuseinZade, S.Brakhman,
I.Krichever, V.Dubrovin, M.Bruk, V.Krasnov, M.Brodskii, S.Tankeev, F.Zak,
R.Nadiradze, A.Peresetskii, A.Shokurov, N.Panov, V.Vedenyapin, and others.
For about two years, B.G.Moishenzon became codirector of the seminar.
During this period its participants studied Kahler and agebraic geometry.
Later several members of the seminar began working on the problems of algebraic
geometry itself.
Among the participants were several others, who, beginning in 1974,
greatly contributed to the application of methods coming from algebraic
geometry to modern mathematical physics (more specifically, to the periodicity
problems in soliton theory and in integrable systems). The work of these
participants, carried out in the seventies and eighties, became widely
known ([24], [52], [35], [41], [17], [23].
A striking example of feedback, namely, the application of the theory
of nonlinear equations to algebraic geometry, was Novikov's conjecture
on the characterization of the Jacobians of Riemann surfaces (the RiemannSchottki
problem). The first notable advance in this problem was the work of B.Dubrovin
[18]. A complete proof was given by T.Shiota [61].
During the second half of the sixties, several participants of the seminar
also studied the topology of nonsimplyconnected manifolds, developing the
ideas that had arisen in foliation theory, as well as those appearing in
the proof of the topological invariance of the rational Pontryagin classes.
At the time, the final formulation of S.P.Novikov's conjecture on higher
signatures [51] for manifolds with arbitrary fundamental group was put
forward, and was established for abelian fundamental groups. In this period
the seminar, besides its traditional contacts with the seminars of the
leading Moscow mathematical schools, was in constant very intense interaction
with the V.A.Rokhlin seminar in Leningrad.
This period also witnessed the appearance of ideas on the Hermitian
analogs of algebraic Ktheory, based on the language and basic concepts
of the Hamiltonian formalism, an algebraic version of sorts of simplectic
geometry [51].
The Ktheory of infinitedimensional complexes was then constructed,
leading up to complete answers in many important cases, including computations
for the classifying spaces of compact Lie groups and EilenbergMacLane
complexes [10]. The correct higher analogs of algebraic Ktheory (at the
same time as Quillen, but on the basis of a different idea) were obtained
[66].
Soon after that, the development of Fredholm representations was undertaken,
both for the construction of a topological Khomology theory and for the
higher signature problem ([32], [47]).
The S.P.Novikov conjecture on higher signatures eventually became widely
known in mathematics. A huge number of papers is devoted to this conjecture.
It gave the impetus for finding deep relationships between topology, algebra,
and functional analysis ([48], [33], [16], [14], [15]).
At the beginning of the seventies, the research interests of the participants
of the seminar diverged: new seminars were organized, where the branches
of topology and algebra mentioned above (cobordisms, formal groups, problems
of nonsimplyconnected manifolds, including Hermitian Ktheory, problems
of higher signatures and functional analysis techniques) were still studied,
e.g. at the V.Bukhshtaber seminar or the A.Mishchenko seminar.
In the second half of the seventies, only one pure topologist began
research at the S.P.Novikov seminar itself, on the then very new subjectmatter
related to Sullivan's ring approach to rational homotopy type: this was
I.Babenko ([2], [3]).
Around 197071, the seminar concentrated on the study of special and
generalized relativity (at the time one of the codirectors of the seminar
was V.P.Myasnikov).
At the beginning of 1971, S.P.Novikov began working at the Landau Institute
of Theoretical Physics and the interests of the seminar shifted more and
more towards the mathematical problems of modern theoretical physics. Jointly
with several of his pupils (O.Bogoyavlenskii, B.Dubrovin, I.Krichever),
S.P.Novikov originated the qualitative theory of homogeneous cosmological
models, solved the periodic problems of soliton theory, developed the theory
of onedimentional and twodimensional Schrodinger operators in periodic
electric and magnetic fields ([4], [24], [22], [53]). Later these ideas
were developed and led to the creation of the theory of twodimensional
periodic and rapidly decreasing operators ([57], [29], [30], [37], [39]).
In the late seventies and in the eighties, new participants of the seminar
joined in these directions of research, in particular A.Veselov, I.Taimanov,
P.Grinevich, O.Mokhov, S.Tsarev, A.Lyskova, P.Novikov [26].
In the process of solving problems of physical nature, S.P.Novikov returned
to topology: he found curious topological characteristics of the typical
twodimensional Schrodinger operator in a magnetic field and in a periodic
lattice, that was later to play a crucial role in explaining the quantum
Hall effect, initiated the notion of multivalued variational calculus in
theoretical physics and mathematics, and constructed the analog of Morse
theory for multivalued functions and functionals ([53], [54], [55], [56],
[62]). A.Lyskova and I.Taimanov took part in these studies. The topic was
later developed by quite a few researchers.
These topics were those where a whole new generation of the seminar's
participants, working in topology, began their research: F.Voronov, A.Zorich,
A.Lazarev, D.Millionshchikov, A.Alaniya, Le Tu Thang, I.Dynnikov, and others
([68], [67], [69], [43], [45], [46], [1], [44], [28]). In this volume these
ideas are developed in the joint article by P.Grinevich and S.P.Novikov
and the one by I.Dynnikov.
A curious cycle of new ideas in Euclidean geometry arose in the eighties
as the result of the interaction with young theoretical physicists from
the Landau Institute (Levitov, Kitaev, Kalugin): the beautiful concept
of quasicrystallic subgroup of the isometry groups of Euclidean space
in the sense of NovikovVeselov and other aspects of the geometry of quasicrystals
were successfully exploited by S.Piunikhin, V.Sadov, and Le Tu Thang [60];
the asymptotic problems of soliton theory led to the construction of a
Hamiltonian theory of systems of hydrodynamic type (i.e., quasilinear
systems of the first order), which had not appeared in the entire hundredyear
history of this field. The Hamiltonian formalism of "hydrodynamic type"
was discovered by S.P.Novikov and B.Dubrovin in 1983, giving rise to a
new branch of Riemannian geometry ([27], [25], [26], [19]).
In the framework of this geometry, S.Tsarev found a method for integrating
such systems ([63], [64], [65]). As the result of a cycle of further studies
of several participants of the seminar (V.Avilov, S.P.Novikov, I.Krichever,
G.Potemin) the complete analytic solution for the dispersive analog of
the wave equation, undertaken in the early seventies by leading members
of the Landau school (A.B.Gurevich and L.P.Pitaevskii), was finally obtained.
The algebraic and geometrical realization of the FlaschkeMacLaughlin mean
of the (Wisem) soliton equations was developed by Krichever [36], [40].
These geometric ideas play an important role in the construction of
the now very popular twodimensional topological quantum field theory [20],
[21]. In the present volume this cycle of ideas appears in the articles
by O.Mokhov, E.Feropontov, and in the subsequent one in those of B.Dubrovin,
M.Pavlov, V.Alekseev.
In the eighties, several participants of the seminar made significant
contributions to the development of the geometry and topology of supermanifolds.
In particular, F.Voronov and A.Zorich constructed the correct superanalog
of the de Rham complex [67].
In connection with the operator quantization of boson strings and twodimensional
conformal field theory, S.P.Novikov and I.Krichever defined the correct
analogs of Laurent and Fourier series for the expansion of meromorphic
tensor fields of any weight on Riemann surfaces. The operator quantization
program for strings was actively developed by physicists in 197074 (Veneciano,
Virasoro, Mandelstram, and others) for surfaces of genus 0. The absence
of analogs of LaurentFourier series on surfaces of positive genus stopped
further development of this topic in the midseventies.
Using a different approach (the continual integral), A.Polyakov succeeded
in quantizing the string for Riemann surfaces (diagrams) of any genus.
The implementation of the program of operator or algebraic quantization
of strings became possible as the result of the work of S.P.Novikov and
I.Krichever at the end of the eighties. The "KricheverNovikov bases" and
the "KricheverNovikov algebra" that they constructed are the Riemann analogs
of the LaurentFourier bases and of the Virasoro algebra [42].
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