### Working paper

## Degenerate affine Grassmannians and loop quivers

For every finite-dimensional vector space V and every V-flag variety X we list all connected reductive subgroups in GL(V) acting spherically on X.

The aim of these notes is to give an introduction into Schubert calculus on Grassmannians and flag varieties. We discuss various aspects of Schubert calculus, such as applications to enumerative geometry, structure of the cohomology rings of Grassmannians and flag varieties, Schur and Schubert polynomials. We conclude with a survey of results of V. Kiritchenko, V. Timorin and the author on a new approach to Schubert calculus on full flag varieties via combinatorics of Gelfand-Zetlin polytopes.

The degenerate Lie group is a semidirect product of the Borel subgroup with the normal abelian unipotent subgroup. We introduce a class of the highest weight representations of the degenerate group of type A, generalizing the PBW-graded representations of the classical group. Following the classical construction of the flag varieties, we consider the closures of the orbits of the abelian unipotent subgroup in the projectivizations of the representations. We show that the degenerate flag varieties $\Fl^a_n$ and their desingularizations $R_n$ can be obtained via this construction. We prove that the coordinate ring of $R_n$ is isomorphic to the direct sum of duals of the highest weight representations of the degenerate group. In the end, we state several conjectures on the structure of the highest weight representations.

We study commutative vertex operator algebras. These algebras are isomorphic to certain subalgebras in Kac-Moody vertex operator algebras. We describe systems of relations and degenerations to quadratic algebras. Our approach leads to the fermionic formulas for characters.

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.