THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW SOUTH WALES DEPARTMENT OF PURE MATHEMATICS _________________DEPARTMENTAL SEMINAR __________________ Speaker: Prof Alistair Savage (University of Ottawa) Title: Categorification for the vacationing mathematician Date: Tuesday, May 18, 2010 Time: 2:00 pm Venue: RC-4082, The Red Centre, UNSW Abstract: This will be an expository talk concerning the idea of categorification and its role in representation theory. We will begin with some very simple yet beautiful observations about how various ideas from basic algebra (monoids, groups, rings, representations etc.) can be reformulated in the language of category theory. We will then explain how this viewpoint leads to new ideas such as the ``categorification’’ of the above-mentioned algebraic objects. We will conclude with a brief synopsis of some current active areas of research involving the categorification of quantum groups. One of the goals is to produce higher-dimensional topological quantum field theories. Very little background knowledge will be assumed.