### Bruce Bartlett’s Thesis

#### Posted by John Baez

Bruce has left Sheffield and returned to South Africa… but his thesis has hit the arXiv, so if you get lonely for him, read this!

Abstract:This thesis contains various results on unitary 2-representations of finite groups and their 2-characters, as well as on pivotal structures for fusion categories. The motivation is extended topological quantum field theory (TQFT), where the 2-category of unitary 2-representations of a finite group is thought of as the `2-category assigned to the point’ in the untwisted finite group model.The first result is that the braided monoidal category of transformations of the identity on the 2-category of unitary 2-representations of a finite group computes as the category of conjugation equivariant vector bundles over the group equipped with the fusion tensor product. This result is consistent with the extended TQFT hypotheses of Baez and Dolan, since it establishes that the category assigned to the circle can be obtained as the `higher trace of the identity’ of the 2-category assigned to the point.

The second result is about 2-characters of 2-representations, a concept which has been introduced independently by Ganter and Kapranov. It is shown that the 2-character of a unitary 2-representation can be made functorial with respect to morphisms of 2-representations, and that in fact the 2-character is a unitarily fully faithful functor from the complexified Grothendieck category of unitary 2-representations to the category of unitary equivariant vector bundles over the group.

The final result is about pivotal structures on fusion categories, with a view towards a conjecture made by Etingof, Nikshych and Ostrik. It is shown that a pivotal structure on a fusion category cannot exist unless certain involutions on the hom-sets are plus or minus the identity map, in which case a pivotal structure is the same thing as a twisted monoidal natural transformation of the identity functor on the category. Moreover the pivotal structure can be made spherical if and only if these signs can be removed.

## Re: Bruce Bartlett’s Thesis

I’m glad you’ve got it on the Arxiv, Bruce! I’m sad to say I haven’t read more than the 2-Hilbert spaces chapter yet, despite the fact you gave me a sneak preview quite a while ago.

So, now that you’re an expert on it — what’s your hunch on the conjecture that all fusion categories can be made pivotal?