Spring 2015 MATH 208 001 LEC

C*-algebras
Schedule: 
SectionDays/TimeLocationInstructorCCN
001 LECMWF 11-12P 70 EVANSRIEFFEL, M A54389
Units/CreditFinal Exam GroupEnrollment
4NONELimit:35 Enrolled:12 Waitlist:0 Avail Seats:23 [on 03/22/15]
Additional Information: 

Prerequisites: Because Math 206 was not offered this past Fall, the prerequisite for this course will be Math 202A-B or equivalent. (In fact, it will be reasonable to take Math 208 concurrently with Math 202B if one studies ahead of time pages 65-83 and 95-107 in the book "Real and Functional Analysis" by S. Lang.) The consequence is that during the first several weeks of the course we will develop the theory of commutative C*-algebras, a topic usually covered in Math 206. (So we will not be able to cover as much advanced material at the end of the course.)

Syllabus: Basic theory of C*-algebras. Positivity, spectrum, GNS construction. Group C*-algebras and connection with group representations. Additional topics, for example, C*-dynamical systems, K-theory.

Office: 811 Evans

Office Hours: TBA

Required Text: none

Recommended Reading: "C*-algebras by Example", K. R. Davidson, AMS

Grading: I plan to assign several problem sets. Grades for the course will be based on the work done on these. But students who would like a different arrangement are very welcome to discuss this with me. There will be no final examination.

Course description: 

The theory of operator algebras grew out of the needs of quantum mechanics, but by now it also has strong interactions with many other areas of mathematics. Operator algebras are very profitably viewed as "non-commutative (algebras "of functions" on) spaces", thus "quantum spaces". As a rough outline, we will first develop the basic facts about C*-algebras ("non-commutative locally compact spaces"), and examine a number of interesting examples. We will then briefly look at "non-commutative differential geometry". Finally, time permitting, we will glance at "non-commutative vector bundles" and K-theory ("noncommutative algebraic topology") . But I will not assume any prior knowledge of algebraic topology or differential geometry, and we are unlikely to have time to go into these last topics in any depth. (For a vast panorama of the applications I strongly recommend Alain Connes' 1994 book "Noncommutative Geometry", which is available on the web as a free download. Of course much has happened since that book was written, but it is still a very good guide to a large variety of applications.)

I will discuss a variety of examples, drawn from dynamical systems, group representations and mathematical physics. But I will somewhat emphasize examples which go in the directions of my current research interests, which involve certain mathematical issues which arise in string theory and related parts of high-energy physics. Thus one thread which will run through the course will be to see what the various concepts look like for quantum tori, which are the most accessible interesting non-commutative differentiable manifolds.

Course Webpage: math.berkeley.edu/~rieffel/208ann15.html