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29
votes
5answers
2k views

Intuition behind moduli space of curves

For a genus g compact smooth surface $M$, an algebraic structure is the same as a complex structure is the same as a conformal structure. So the moduli space of smooth curves should be the same as the ...
28
votes
4answers
1k views

Curves which are not covers of P^1 with four branch points

The following interesting question came up in a discussion I was having with Alex Wright. Suppose given a branched cover C -> P^1 with four branch points. It's not hard to see that the field of ...
28
votes
2answers
2k views

Meaning/Origin of Seiberg-Witten Equations/Invariants

Having now seen and "understood" (quotes necessary) the Seiberg-Witten equations on a closed oriented Riemannian 4-manifold $X$, I have no real understanding of where they came from. We take an ...
27
votes
12answers
4k views

What is a good introductory text for moduli theory?

Hi,everyone. I am looking for an introductory textbook on moduli theory,about the background on algebraic geometry,I have read Hartshorne chapter1~4. could you please show some good books or roadmap ...
27
votes
1answer
738 views

Is $M_g$ finitely covered by a scheme over the integers?

This question was prompted by my almost-answer to the question Does smooth and proper over $\mathbb Z$ imply rational? , but I never got around to asking this until now. It is well known that $M_g$, ...
25
votes
3answers
2k views

Mumford conjecture: Heuristic reasons? Generalizations? … Algebraic geometry approaches?

The Mumford conjecture states that for each integer $n$, we have: the map $\mathbb{Q}[x_1,x_2,\dots] \to H^\ast(M_g ; \mathbb{Q})$ sending $x_i$ to the kappa class $\kappa_i$, is an isomorphism in ...
25
votes
0answers
454 views

Why do H_4 and M_4 have the same virtual Euler characteristic?

Here's a funny coincidence: The virtual (or "orbifold") Euler characteristic of $\mathcal M_g$ is known by the work of Harer and Zagier: one has $\chi(\mathcal M_g) = \zeta(1-2g)/(2-2g)$. Now ...
24
votes
2answers
2k views

Is the moduli space of curves defined over the field with one element?

There are various frameworks around which enlarge the category of rings to include more exotic objects such as the 'field with one element,' $\mathbb{F}_1$. While these frameworks differ in their ...
22
votes
3answers
1k views

Help motivating log-structures

I'm currently reading a thesis that uses log-structures. I should mention that this is my first encounter with them, and the thesis (as well as my expertise) is scheme-theoretic (in fact ...
22
votes
1answer
1k views

How were moduli spaces defined before functors?

People today in algebraic geometry will typically define a moduli space to be the space which represents the functor of families of whatever object they are interested in studying. However, I am ...
20
votes
6answers
2k views

Does the moduli space of smooth curves of genus g contain an elliptic curve

Let $M_g$ be the moduli space of smooth projective geometrically connected curves over a field $k$ with $g\geq 2$. Note that $M_g$ is not complete. Does $M_g$ contain an elliptic curve? The answer ...
19
votes
2answers
688 views

Different interpretations of moduli stacks

I'm taking my first steps in the language of stacks, and would like something cleared up. The intuitive idea of moduli spaces is that each point corresponds to an object of what we're trying to ...
19
votes
1answer
861 views

Do hyperKahler manifolds live in quaternionic-Kahler families?

A geometry question that I thought about more seriously a few years ago... thought it'd be a good first question for MO. I'm aware that there are a number of Torelli type theorems now proven for ...
19
votes
1answer
710 views

Conformal blocks vector bundles on $\overline{M}_{g}$ in terms of generalized theta functions?

Conformal field theory uses representation theory to produce various vector bundles on the Deligne-Mumford compactified moduli spaces $\overline{M}_{g}$ and $\overline{M}_{g,n}$, known as bundles of ...
18
votes
5answers
1k views

Is a 'generic' variety nonsingular? Or singular?

I'd like to know whether there's some coherent meaning of 'generic' for which one can say that a 'generic' variety over an algebraically closed field $K$, say, is nonsingular or singular. We could ...
18
votes
4answers
1k views

Betti numbers of moduli spaces of smooth Riemann surfaces

Where can I find a list of the known Betti numbers of the moduli spaces $\mathcal{M}_{g,n}$ of genus $g$ Riemann surfaces with $n$ marked points? I need it to cross check results by an implemented ...
18
votes
2answers
690 views

What's “bad” about unstable sheaves?

To construct a (coarse or fine) moduli space that is separated, one usually throw away some class of the object in question. For moduli of sheaves people talk about (semi-)stability. A coherent sheaf ...
17
votes
6answers
1k views

What can you do with a compact moduli space?

So sometime ago in my math education I discovered that many mathematicians were interested in moduli problems. Not long after I got the sense that when mathematicians ran across a non compact moduli ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

When is a classification problem “wild”?

I hope someone can point me to a quick definition of the following terminology. I keep coming across wild and tame in the context of classification problems, often adorned with quotes, leading me to ...
16
votes
3answers
2k views

Conceptual understanding of the Gross-Zagier theorem.

The Gross-Zagier paper "Heegner points and derivatives of $L$-series", is really computational and hard to plow through. It seems it is futile to read it as such and one must look for a more ...
15
votes
4answers
720 views

Details for the action of the braid group B_3 on modular forms

I'm reading Terry Gannon's Moonshine Beyond the Monster, and in section 2.4.3 he hints at (but does not explicitly describe) a way to extend the action of $SL_2(\mathbb{Z})$ on modular forms to an ...
15
votes
0answers
341 views

Other examples of computations using transfer of structure from the chains to the homology?

There is a `long' history of transfer (up to homotopy!) of algebraic structure from a dg _ algebra A to its homology H(A) (e.g. Kadeishvili for the associative case and Heubschmann for the Lie case). ...
14
votes
4answers
900 views

Introductory text for the non-arithmetic moduli of elliptic curves

I'm looking for an introduction to the non-arithmetic aspects of the moduli of elliptic curves. I'd particularly like one that discusses the $H^1$ local system on the moduli space (whether it's $Y(1)$ ...
14
votes
1answer
802 views

Does the moduli space of genus three curves contain a complete genus two curve

Inspired by the question Does the moduli space of smooth curves of genus g contain an elliptic curve and its amazing answers, I ask (pure out of curiosity) whether the moduli space $M_3$ of (smooth ...
14
votes
2answers
564 views

A historical question: Hurwitz, Luroth, Clebsch, and the connectedness of M_g

The connectedness of the moduli space M_g of complex algebraic curves of genus g can be proven by showing that it is dominated by a Hurwitz space of simply branched d-fold covers of the line, which in ...
14
votes
0answers
414 views

Do mapping classes have gonality?

(This question was discussed by people at the PCMI workshop on moduli spaces, without any clear resolution, so I thought I'd throw it open to MO.) The hyperelliptic mapping class group is (by ...
13
votes
1answer
639 views

Coarse moduli spaces over Z and F_p

I would like to know to what extent it is possible to compare fibers over $\mathbb{F}_p$ of coarse moduli spaces over $\mathbb{Z}$, and coarse moduli spaces over $\mathbb{F}_p$. I ask a more precise ...
13
votes
1answer
487 views

Does a degeneration always have a larger-dimensional automorphism group?

Suppose $\newcommand{\X}{\mathcal{X}}\X$ is an algebraic stack over a field $k$, $\xi$ is a $k$-point which has another $k$-point $x$ in its closure ($x$ is an isotrivial degeneration of $\xi$). ...
12
votes
9answers
5k views

Teichmuller Theory introduction

What is a good introduction to Teichmuller theory, mapping class groups etc., and relation to moduli space of curves or Riemann surfaces?
12
votes
5answers
2k views

Deformations of semisimple Lie algebras

In the questions Is "semisimple" a dense condition among Lie algebras? and What is the Zariski closure of the space of semisimple Lie algebras?, something equivalent to the following is ...
12
votes
2answers
842 views

Are Jacobians principally polarized over non-algebraically closed fields?

How does one define the Torelli map $M_g \to A_g$ of moduli stacks? On geometric points a curve maps to its principally polarized Jacobian. So what I am asking is: if I have a curve $C$ over a ...
12
votes
3answers
594 views

Are there graph models for other moduli spaces?

Recall that a ribbon graph is a graph with a cyclic ordering at each vertex and such that each vertex has valence greater than or equal to 3. This cyclic ordering exactly gives one the information to ...
12
votes
3answers
516 views

Hyperelliptic loci in Teichmueller spaces

Let ${\cal M}_g$ be the moduli space of smooth complex genus $g$ curves, let ${\cal H}_g\subset {\cal M}_g$ be the hyperelliptic locus and set ${{\cal H}}'_g$ to be the preimage of ${\cal H}_g$ in the ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Is there an algebraic construction of the Quillen (determinant) Line Bundle?

Let's consider the moduli space of representations of $\pi=\pi_1(\Sigma)$ (a surface group) into $G$ (a lie group). Call this $X=\operatorname{Hom}(\pi,G)$, and let ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

Picard Groups of Moduli Problems

First, yes, I've seen Mumford's paper of this title. I'm actually interested in specific ones, and looking for really the most elementary/elegant proof possible. I'm told that for $g\geq 2$ it is ...
12
votes
2answers
444 views

Is there Harer stability for moduli of curves with level structure?

The famous Harer stability theorem asserts that the homology group $H_d(\mathcal{M}_{g,n},\mathbf{Z})$ is independent of g and n in the range $0 \leq 2d < g-1$. This is proven by analyzing the maps ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

Why is the degree:rank ratio of a vector bundle called its “slope”?

Whenever one studies moduli spaces of vector bundles on curves, one of the first things to be introduced is the "slope" of a vector bundle, i.e., its degree:rank ratio. Is there a nice (preferably ...
12
votes
3answers
596 views

What is the DGLA controlling the deformation theory of a complex submanifold?

Let $X$ be a complex manifold, $Y\hookrightarrow X$ a complex compact submanifold. Let $T_{X/Y}$ denote the normal bundle of $Y$ in $X$, and $\mathcal{O}(T_{X/Y})$ its sheaf of holomorphic sections. ...
12
votes
1answer
377 views

What is the second fundamental form of moduli space?

Away from the hyperelliptic locus, the moduli of curves immerses in the moduli of principally polarized abelian varieties. The ambient space has a riemannian metric, so one can ask about the second ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is one interested in the mod p reduction of modular curves and Shimura varieties?

Why is one interested in the mod p reduction of modular curves and Shimura varieties? From an article I learned that this can be used to prove the Eichler-Shimura relation which in turn proves the ...
11
votes
2answers
567 views

Given a family of curves, when does there exist a fibered surface over Spec Z parametrizing them?

Let $X_p$ be a projective curve over the finite field $\mathbf{F}_p$ (i.e. a projective $\mathbf{F}_p$-scheme pure of dimension 1) for every prime number $p$. Let $X_\mathbf{Q}$ be a projective curve ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

What is the Euler characteristic of a Hilbert scheme of points of a singular algebraic curve?

Let $X$ be a smooth surface of genus $g$ and $S^nX$ its n-symmetrical product (that is, the quotient of $X \times ... \times X$ by the symmetric group $S_n$). There is a well known, cool formula ...
11
votes
5answers
653 views

Arithmetic dynamics and dynamics on moduli spaces

The following question is more of a request for pointers to suitable literature on introductory material for arithmetic dynamics and dynamics on moduli spaces. In my dissertation, I have been ...
11
votes
0answers
310 views

Generalization of Witten's computation of the volume of moduli space

Let $\Sigma$ be a Riemann surface, and let $X=\operatorname{Hom}(\pi_1(\Sigma),\operatorname{SU}(2))/\\!/\operatorname{SU}(2)$ be the $\operatorname{SU}(2)$ character variety of $\pi_1(\Sigma)$. ...
11
votes
0answers
905 views

MNOP conjecture

Let $X$ be a smooth, projective, Calabi-Yau 3-fold (CY makes the exposition more elegant, I don't think it is necessary). To define Gromov-Witten invariants, we consider moduli spaces of stable ...
10
votes
6answers
2k views

Gromov-Witten theory and compactifications of the moduli of curves

Why, from a string theory perspective, is it natural to consider the Deligne-Mumford (resp. Kontsevich) compactification of the moduli of curves (resp. maps [from curves to a target space X]) rather ...
10
votes
2answers
988 views

Is the Torelli map an immersion?

The Torelli map $\tau\colon M_g \to A_g$ sends a curve C to its Jacobian (along with the canonical principal polarization associated to C); see this question for a description which works for ...
10
votes
3answers
2k views

Moduli space of K3 surfaces

It is known that there exists a fine moduli space for marked (nonalgebraic) K3 surfaces over $\mathbb{C}$. See for example the book by Barth, Hulek, Peters and Van de Ven, section VIII.12. Of course ...
10
votes
6answers
1k views

Why and how are moduli spaces of (semi)stable vector bundles well-behaved?

The slope of a vector bundle E is defined as mu(E) = deg(E)/rank(E). Then a vector bundle E is called semistable if mu(E') ≤ mu(E) for all proper sub-bundles E'. It is called stable if mu(E') < ...
10
votes
1answer
363 views

Number of curves over a finite field

Let $K$ be a finite field. Is there a formula for the number of isomorphism classes of genus $g$ smooth curves over $K$? In other words does there exists a formula for the number of rational points ...