Obstructions to smooth group actions on 4-manifolds from families Seiberg-Witten theory 13:10 Fri 25 May, 2018 :: Barr Smith South Polygon Lecture theatre :: David Baraglia :: University of Adelaide
Let X be a smooth, compact, oriented 4-manifold and consider the following problem. Let G be a group which acts on the second cohomology of X preserving the intersection form. Can this action of G on H^2(X) be lifted to an action of G on X by diffeomorphisms? We study a parametrised version of Seiberg-Witten theory for smooth families of 4-manifolds and obtain obstructions to the existence of such lifts. For example, we construct compact simply-connected 4-manifolds X and involutions on H^2(X) that can be realised by a continuous involution on X, or by a diffeomorphism, but not by an involutive diffeomorphism for any smooth structure on X.