Dustin CLAUSEN (Copenhagen): The Dedekind eta function as a framed cobordism
Modular forms are certain complex-analytic functions on the upper-half plane. They can also be interpreted as giving linear-algebraic invariants of elliptic curves, perhaps equipped with some extra structure, and in this way they reveal their algebraic-geometric nature. One of the most fundamental modular forms is the Dedekind eta function. However, it seems that only recently has it been pinned down precisely what extra structure on an elliptic curve is needed to define eta. Namely, Deligne was able to express this extra structure in terms of the 2- and 3-power torsion of the elliptic curve. Deligne's proof, apparently, is computational. In this talk I'll describe a conjectural reinterpretation of Deligne's result, together with some supporting results and a hint at a possible conceptual proof. The reinterpretation is homotopy theoretic, the key being to think of an elliptic curve as giving a class in framed cobordism. This directly connects the number "24" which often appears in the study of eta to the 3rd stable stem in topology.