The aim of the project is two-fold. One goal is to employ techniques from smooth 4-dimensional topology in the study of deformations of isolated surface singularities. More specifically the project aims at advancing in the study of smoothings of rational surface singularities by means of gauge-theoretic invariants as well as lattice-theoretic combinatorial techniques. A conjecture of Kollar regarding a class of rational surface singularities with a unique smoothing will be considered. The conjecture has natural symplectic and topological counterparts. The plan consists in proving the topological version and investigating the extent to which this version of the problem can lead to advancements in the original conjecture. Another primary goal is to investigate properties of the 3-dimensional rational homology sphere group, such as n-divisibility and torsion, via constructions involving rational cuspidal curves in possibly singular homology planes. In this context a first specific goal is producing examples of 3-manifolds which are either Seifert fibered spaces or obtained via Dehn surgery on an algebraic knots which are 2-divisible in the rational homology sphere group. In a similar setting it will be investigated the extent to which rational homology balls bounded by integral surgeries on torus knots can be realized algebraically.
Perspective taking, the ability to take another person's perspective, is instrumental in building successful and harmonious partnerships, from romantic relationships to international cooperation. Yet, failure to achieve perspective taking, or egocentrism, is increasingly observed in clinical and healthy populations. Fortunately, perspective taking is a skill that can be acquired through training, but, to date, existing training has only yielded limited results. This project aims to conduct the first epidemiological study of egocentrism (i.e. to assess its prevalence in Europe, its severity, its psycho-sociological determinants, and its consequences on mental health and well-being) and the first large-scale perspective-taking training intervention for both healthy and clinical populations. By distinguishing the profiles of egocentrism and identifying their key determinants, Work Package (WP) 1 will assess perspective-taking performance (and associated psycho-sociological factors) in Alzheimer, addictive disorder, anorexic, and forensic patients and in matched healthy control participantss. Building on the Supervisor’s team expertise in devising and conducting training interventions, WP2 will devise and conduct intervention programs tailored to the distinct egocentrism profiles in the same populations as WP1. WP3 will export the WP1-WP2 methodology into a free web-based assessment and training tool to conduct the epidemiological study and the large-scale training intervention in the general population, from adolescents to seniors. The assessment and training tool will be made available to all clinicians, researchers and all other actors to foster further uses such as for youth education programs, support programs for caregivers, or mental health promotion programs targeting vulnerable populations.
How do you nurture democracy in a republic? Today, as republics around the world are straining under the pressures of authoritarianism, this question becomes almost overwhelmingly urgent. In helping to draw the blueprints for United States republicanism, Thomas Jefferson gave his answer in temporal terms: the U.S. would remain democratic as long as each generation was given power to “repair” the Constitution to suit their era, but also the obligation of handing on that document, with the entire republic, in a peaceful and timely manner to the next generation. This pattern of generational succession, which Jefferson believed would prevent any one generation from permanently stamping their likeness on the country, became essential to nineteenth-century Americans’ socio-political outlook: to be a truly democratic republic, they believed, required living in this new temporal order, which has yet to be identified by scholarship and which I am calling “republican time.” The goal of my research project, executed under the co-supervision of Hélène Quanquin and Hélène Cottet (University of Lille, France), is to investigate the relationship between republican time and the workings of democracy in nineteenth-century America. I will accomplish this goal through a program of close reading of American literature, informed by theories of political science, history, race, and gender and sexuality.