Sasha Dranishnikov gave a talk describing some of his results about Gromov’s conjecture relating positive scalar curvature and *macroscopic dimension*.

**Definition** (Gromov) Let \(X\) be a metric space. We say that \(X\) has *macroscopic dimension \(\le n\)* if there exists a continuous, *uniformly cobounded* \(f\colon X\to K\), where \(K\) is an \(n\)-dimensional simplicial complex. We recall that* uniformly cobounded* means that there is an upper bound on the diameters of inverse images of simplices.

This is a metric notion, but it is quite different from the familiar *asymptotic dimension*. One way of defining the latter says that \(X\) has asymptotic dimension \(\le n\) if, for each \(\epsilon>0\), there is an \(\epsilon\)-*Lipschitz* uniformly cobounded map to an \(n\)-dimensional simplicial complex (here, we agree to metrize \(K\) as a subset of the standard simplex in infinite-dimensional Euclidean space). From this definition it is apparent that the macroscopic dimension is less than or equal to the asymptotic dimension. On the other hand, it is also clear that the macroscopic dimension is less than or equal to the ordinary topological dimension.

Gromov famously conjectured that the universal cover of a compact \(n\)-manifold that admits a metric of positive scalar curvature should have macroscopic dimension \(\le n-2\). The motivating example for this conjecture is a manifold \(M^n = N^{n-2}\times S^2 \) – this clearly admits positive scalar curvature, and its universal cover has macroscopic dimension at most \(n-2\). Gromov’s conjecture suggests that this geometric phenomenon is “responsible” for all positive scalar curvature metrics. Continue reading