### Working paper

## On the number of coverings of the sphere ramified over given points

I show that Hurwitz numbers may be generated by certain correlation functions which appear in quantum chaos.

We establish a correspondence between Young diagrams and differential operators of infinitely many variables. These operators form a commutative associative algebra isomorphic to the algebra of the conjugated classes of finite permutations of the set of natural numbers. The Schur functions form a complete system of common eigenfunctions of these differential operators, and their eigenvalues are expressed through the characters of symmetric groups. These operators generate differential equations for partition functions of Hurwitz numbers.

We construct partition functions that are tau-functions of integrable hierarchies.

We define cut-and-join operators in Hurwitz theory for merging two branch points of an arbitrary type. These operators have two alternative descriptions: (1) the GL characters are their eigenfunctions and the symmetric group characters are their eigenvalues; (2) they can be represented as W-type differential operators (in particular, acting on the time variables in the Hurwitz–Kontsevich τ -function). The operators have the simplest form when expressed in terms of the Miwa variables. They form an important commutative associative algebra, a universal Hurwitz algebra, generalizing all group algebra centers of particular symmetric groups used to describe the universal Hurwitz numbers of particular orders. This algebra expresses arbitrary Hurwitz numbers as values of a distinguished linear form on the linear space of Young diagrams evaluated on the product of all diagrams characterizing particular ramification points of the branched covering.

This book collects papers based on the XXXVI Białowieża Workshop on Geometric Methods in Physics, 2017. The Workshop, which attracts a community of experts active at the crossroads of mathematics and physics, represents a major annual event in the field. Based on presentations given at the Workshop, the papers gathered here are previously unpublished, at the cutting edge of current research, and primarily grounded in geometry and analysis, with applications to classical and quantum physics. In addition, a Special Session was dedicated to S. Twareque Ali, a distinguished mathematical physicist at Concordia University, Montreal, who passed away in January 2016.

For the past six years, the Białowieża Workshops have been complemented by a School on Geometry and Physics, comprising a series of advanced lectures for graduate students and early-career researchers. The extended abstracts of this year’s lecture series are also included here. The unique character of the Workshop-and-School series is due in part to the venue: a famous historical, cultural and environmental site in the Białowieża forest, a UNESCO World Heritage Centre in eastern Poland. Lectures are given in the Nature and Forest Museum, and local traditions are interwoven with the scientific activities.

A model for organizing cargo transportation between two node stations connected by a railway line which contains a certain number of intermediate stations is considered. The movement of cargo is in one direction. Such a situation may occur, for example, if one of the node stations is located in a region which produce raw material for manufacturing industry located in another region, and there is another node station. The organization of freight traﬃc is performed by means of a number of technologies. These technologies determine the rules for taking on cargo at the initial node station, the rules of interaction between neighboring stations, as well as the rule of distribution of cargo to the ﬁnal node stations. The process of cargo transportation is followed by the set rule of control. For such a model, one must determine possible modes of cargo transportation and describe their properties. This model is described by a ﬁnite-dimensional system of diﬀerential equations with nonlocal linear restrictions. The class of the solution satisfying nonlocal linear restrictions is extremely narrow. It results in the need for the “correct” extension of solutions of a system of diﬀerential equations to a class of quasi-solutions having the distinctive feature of gaps in a countable number of points. It was possible numerically using the Runge–Kutta method of the fourth order to build these quasi-solutions and determine their rate of growth. Let us note that in the technical plan the main complexity consisted in obtaining quasi-solutions satisfying the nonlocal linear restrictions. Furthermore, we investigated the dependence of quasi-solutions and, in particular, sizes of gaps (jumps) of solutions on a number of parameters of the model characterizing a rule of control, technologies for transportation of cargo and intensity of giving of cargo on a node station.

Let k be a field of characteristic zero, let G be a connected reductive algebraic group over k and let g be its Lie algebra. Let k(G), respectively, k(g), be the field of k- rational functions on G, respectively, g. The conjugation action of G on itself induces the adjoint action of G on g. We investigate the question whether or not the field extensions k(G)/k(G)^G and k(g)/k(g)^G are purely transcendental. We show that the answer is the same for k(G)/k(G)^G and k(g)/k(g)^G, and reduce the problem to the case where G is simple. For simple groups we show that the answer is positive if G is split of type A_n or C_n, and negative for groups of other types, except possibly G_2. A key ingredient in the proof of the negative result is a recent formula for the unramified Brauer group of a homogeneous space with connected stabilizers. As a byproduct of our investigation we give an affirmative answer to a question of Grothendieck about the existence of a rational section of the categorical quotient morphism for the conjugating action of G on itself.

Let G be a connected semisimple algebraic group over an algebraically closed field k. In 1965 Steinberg proved that if G is simply connected, then in G there exists a closed irreducible cross-section of the set of closures of regular conjugacy classes. We prove that in arbitrary G such a cross-section exists if and only if the universal covering isogeny Ĝ → G is bijective; this answers Grothendieck's question cited in the epigraph. In particular, for char k = 0, the converse to Steinberg's theorem holds. The existence of a cross-section in G implies, at least for char k = 0, that the algebra k[G]G of class functions on G is generated by rk G elements. We describe, for arbitrary G, a minimal generating set of k[G]G and that of the representation ring of G and answer two Grothendieck's questions on constructing generating sets of k[G]G. We prove the existence of a rational (i.e., local) section of the quotient morphism for arbitrary G and the existence of a rational cross-section in G (for char k = 0, this has been proved earlier); this answers the other question cited in the epigraph. We also prove that the existence of a rational section is equivalent to the existence of a rational W-equivariant map T- - - >G/T where T is a maximal torus of G and W the Weyl group.