Russell Avdek

I'm a mathematician who studies algebraic and topological aspects of symplectic manifolds and their friends, often using holomorphic curves. Currently I'm working at Laboratoire de Mathématiques d'Orsay as a MathInGreaterParis fellow. Previously I was a researcher at Uppsala University. Here is my CV.

Reach me via my personal email at (corrected in the obvious fashion).

Research articles

We compute the contact homologies of neighborhoods of convex hypersurfaces of any dimension. The result is expressed in terms of homotopy classes of augmentations of the dividing set, or alternatively bilinearied homology theories which we define for free, commutative DGAs over the rationals. Application and computations will appear shortly in follow-up papers. See the MCM slides for a less technical overview.

We define a generalization of the Chekanov-Eliashberg algebra, CE, which we call the planar diagram algebra, PDA. It is a non-commutative differential graded algebra with a special filtration. The PDA differential counts holomorphic disks with multiple positive punctures using a combinatorial framework inspired by string topology.  Computational software is available here. For a quick overview, see these slides.

Simplified SFT moduli spaces for Legendrian links (to appear in Journal of Symplectic Geometry)

How do you count index 1 J-curves on the Lagrangian cylinder over a Legendrian link in R3 when the domain is non-simply connected? This is an obstruction bundle problem which does not always admit a combinatorial solution. We show that such curves can be "perturbed away" using a Legendrian isotopy, implying that any (full) SFT invariant of Legendrian links can be computed using only combinatorial disks.

We develop tools for studying Reeb dynamics on contact 3-manifolds determined by surgery diagrams and for counting holomorphic planes in surgery cobordisms. These tools are used to provide the first examples of closed, tight contact manifolds with vanishing contact homology. For an overview focused on applications, see the slides below.

We describe factorizations of fibered Dehn twists along the boundary of Milnor fibers of Fermat singularities in terms of Dehn twists along Lagrangian spheres. In low dimensions, these factorizations generalize the classical chain relation.

Liouville hypersurfaces and connect sum cobordisms (Journal of Symplectic Geometry, 2021)

A symplectic cobordism construction is described which generalizes Weinstein handle attachment. Applications include proofs of the existence of "fillability" and "non-vanishing contact homology" monoids in the symplectomorphism groups of Liouville domains as well as proofs of the symplectic non-triviality of squares of Dehn twists on cotangent bundles of 2- and 6-dimensional spheres (which are smoothly trivial).

Contact surgery and supporting open books (Algebraic & Geometric Topology, 2013)

Algorithms are described for switching between open book and contact surgery descriptions of a given contact 3-manifold. We use these algorithms to show that every contact 3-manifold can be described by contact surgery along a Legendrian link in 3-space.

Notes, slides, and software

Slides supplementing my articles

Computational mathematics


Recent and upcoming talks