SMRI ’What is ..?’: ’... a cohomological field theory?’ Pedram Hekmati (University of Auckland) Tuesday, 26th April, 3:00pm - 4:00pm (AEST) Quad S224 & Online via Zoom Register for online attendance here: https://uni-sydney.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwtduyrrDMtEtxYbtUHRUsquAFH4oZ7bLnQ Abstract: Many interesting invariants in geometry satisfy certain glueing or factorisation conditions, that are often useful when doing calculations. Topological quantum field theories (TQFTs) emerged in the 1980s as an organising structure for invariants that are governed by bordisms. In 2 dimensions, bordisms are surfaces with boundaries and the TQFT has a simple algebraic description. By remembering the diffeomorphisms of the surfaces, one is lead to the notion of a cohomological field theory. This talk will give an overview of these ideas and be aimed at a broad audience. Biography: Pedram Hekmati is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mathematics of the University of Auckland. He obtained his Ph.D. in 2010 from the Royal Institute of Technology and prior to moving to Auckland, he held a DECRA fellowship at the University of Adelade and a Postdoctorate of Excellence at IMPA, Rio de Janeiro. His research lies at the intersection of differential geometry, algebraic topology and mathematical physics; with a particular focus on invariants associated to moduli spaces and character varieties.