UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The topology of representation varieties Bergeron, Maxime Octave


The goal of this thesis is to understand the topology of representation varieties. To be more precise, let G be a complex reductive linear algebraic group and let K ⊂ G be a maximal compact subgroup. Given a finitely generated nilpotent group Γ, we consider the representation spaces Hom(Γ,G) and Hom(Γ,K) endowed with the compact-open topology. Our main result shows that there is a strong deformation retraction of Hom(Γ,G) onto Hom(Γ,K). We also obtain a strong deformation retraction of the geometric invariant theory quotient Hom(Γ,G)//G onto the ordinary quotient Hom(Γ,K)/K. Using these deformations, we then describe the topology of these spaces.

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