One interesting question in low-dimensional topology is to understand the structure of mapping class group of a given manifold. In dimension 2, this topic is very well studied. The structure of this group is known for various 3-manifolds as well (ref- Hatcher’s famous work on Smale conjecture). But virtually nothing is known in dimension 4. In this talk I will try to motivate why this problem in dimension 4 is interesting and how it is different from dimension 2 and 3. I will demonstrate some “exotic” phenomena and if time permits, I will talk a few words on my work with Jianfeng Lin where we used an idea motivated from this to disprove a long standing open problem about stabilizations of 4-manifolds.

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Last updated: 24 Mar 2023