Members & Former Members

Prof. Dr. Tobias Hartnick

Project leader


E-mail: tobias.hartnick(at)
Telephone: +49 721 608 43040


54Cohomology of symmetric spaces as seen from infinity

Publications within SPP2026

We determine the fundamental groups of symmetrizable algebraically simply connected split real Kac-Moody groups endowed with the Kac-Peterson topology. In analogy to the finite-dimensional situation, the Iwasawa decomposition G=KAU provides a weak homotopy equivalence between K and G, implying π1(G)=π1(K). It thus suffices to determine π1(K) which we achieve by investigating the fundamental groups of generalized flag varieties. Our results apply in all cases in which the Bruhat decomposition of the generalized flag variety is a CW decomposition − in particular, we cover the complete symmetrizable situation; the result concerning the structure of π1(K) more generally also holds in the non-symmetrizable two-spherical situation.


JournalTransformation Groups
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Related project(s):
61At infinity of symmetric spaces

In the present article we introduce and study a class of topological reflection spaces that we call Kac-Moody symmetric spaces. These generalize Riemannian symmetric spaces of non-compact type. We observe that in a non-spherical Kac-Moody symmetric space there exist pairs of points that do not lie on a common geodesic; however, any two points can be connected by a chain of geodesic segments. We moreover classify maximal flats in Kac-Moody symmetric spaces and study their intersection patterns, leading to a classification of global and local automorphisms. Unlike Riemannian symmetric spaces, non-spherical non-affine irreducible Kac-Moody symmetric spaces also admit an invariant causal structure. For causal and anti-causal geodesic rays with respect to this structure we find a notion of asymptoticity, which allows us to define a future and past boundary of such Kac-Moody symmetric space. We show that these boundaries carry a natural polyhedral structure and are cellularly isomorphic to the halves of the geometric realization of the twin buildings of the underlying split real Kac-Moody group. We also show that every automorphism of the symmetric space is uniquely determined by the induced cellular automorphism of the future and past boundary. The invariant causal structure on a non-spherical non-affine irreducible Kac-Moody symmetric space gives rise to an invariant pre-order on the underlying space, and thus to a subsemigroup of the Kac-Moody group. We conclude that while in some aspects Kac-Moody symmetric spaces closely resemble Riemannian symmetric spaces, in other aspects they behave similarly to ordered affine hovels, their non-Archimedean cousins.


JournalMünster J. Math.
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Related project(s):
61At infinity of symmetric spaces

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