Bahar Acu



Poster of 2012 Women in Math Program at IAS, Princeton

I am primarily interested in the topology and geometry of higher-dimensional contact and

symplectic manifolds and their interactions with several theories such as symplectic

field theory and mapping class group theory.


Publications & preprints:


  • Symplectic mapping class group relations generalizing the chain relation

         (Joint w/ R. Avdek), Internat. J. Math. 27 (2016), no. 12, 27 pages, arXiv:1412.3789


  • The Weinstein conjecture for iterated planar contact structures

         Submitted, arXiv:1710.07724


  • Planarity in higher-dimensional contact manifolds

         (Joint w/ A. Moreno) Submitted, arXiv:1810.11448


  • Remarks on iterated planar contact manifolds

         (Joint w/ J. B. Etnyre and B. Ozbagci) Draft available upon request.


  • Relations in symplectomorphism groups from the geometry of Lefschetz pencils


         (Joint w/ R. Avdek) Draft available upon request.


  • On foliations of higher-dimensional symplectic manifolds and symplectic mapping class group relations, PhD Thesis, 2017.




   Awards & Honors in Research:

  • Leibniz Fellowship, Oberwolfach Research Institute for Mathematics, 2019
  • Edward and Dolores Blum Research Prize, USC, 2016
  • AWM Advance Grant for Women in Contact and Symplectic Geometry and Topology, 2019
  • USC Women in Science and Engineering Travel Grant, 2016
  • AMS Graduate Student Travel Grant, 2016
  • AWM Travel Grant, 2016
  • Summer Fellowship, University of Southern California, 2011-2016


Atilim Geometry Topology Workshop, 2015


    Upcoming Invited Talks


  1. Special Session on Knots and Links in Low-Dimensional Topology, AMS Spring Southeastern Sectional Meeting, March 13-15, 2020, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA
  2. AMS-AWM Special Session on Women in Symplectic and Contact Geometry II, Joint Mathematics Meeting, January 15-17, 2020,   Denver, CO


    Invited Research Talks


  • 2019
  1. AWM Research Symposium, Special Session: New advances in symplectic and contact topology, April 6-7, 2019, Rice University, TX
  2. Workshop on symplectic and contact mapping class groups, January 2019, Seoul National University, South Korea


  • 2018
  1. Twenty-fifth Gökova Geometry Topology Conference, May 2018, Gökova, Turkey
  2. Geometry Topology Seminar, April 2018, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston, MA
  3. Symplectic Geometry, Gauge Theory, and Categorification Seminar, April 2018, Columbia University, New York, NY
  4. Geometry and Topology Seminar, April 2018, Georgia Institute of Technology, GA
  5. Midwest Women in Mathematics Symposium, April 2018, Purdue University, Indiana, IN
  6. Geometry & Physics Seminar, February 2018, Northwestern University, IL


  • 2017
  1. Tech Topology Conference, Lightning Talks Session, December 2017, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA
  2. Berkeley Topology Seminar, November, 2017, UC Berkeley, CA
  3. Invited Paper Session on Low Dimensional Symplectic and Contact Topology, MAA MathFest, July 2017, Hilton Chicago
  4. Kylerec 2017, Symplectic Fillings of Contact Manifolds Workshop, May 2017, Truckee, CA
  5. Underrepresented Students in Topology/Algebra Research Symposium, Distinguished Graduate Speaker, April 2017, Amherst College
  6. Symplectic Geometry Seminar, February 2017, Stanford University
  7. The 10th Annual Symposium for Women in Mathematics (WiMSoCal), February 2017, University of Southern California
  8. Claremont College Topology Seminar, January 2017, Pomona College, CA
  9. Geometry/Topology Seminar, January 2017, Duke University, Durham, NC
  10. Special Session on Symplectic Geometry, Moment Maps and Morse Theory II, 2017 Joint Mathematics Meetings, January 2017, Atlanta, GA
  11. Special Session on Women in Topology, 2017 Joint Mathematics Meetings, January 2017, Atlanta, GA
  12. AWM Workshop, 2017 Joint Mathematics Meetings, January 2017, Atlanta, GA


  • 2016
  1. Tech Topology Conference, Lightning Talks Session, December 2016, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA
  2. AMS Fall Central Sectional Meeting, Special Session on Symplectic and Contact Geometry, October 2016, Univ. of St. Thomas, MN
  3. Differential Geometry and Symplectic Topology Seminar, October 2016, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
  4. Geometry and Topology Seminar, October 2016 University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
  5. Topology Students Workshop, June 2016, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA


  • 2015
  1. The 9th Annual Symposium for Women in Mathematics in Southern California, November 2015, Pomona College, CA
  2. Senior Math and Physics Colloquium, September 2015, California State University Channel Islands, Camarillo, CA
  3. IMBM Geometry Topology Workshop, June 2015, Boğaziçi University, Istanbul, Turkey
  4. Geometry Seminar, June 2015, Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University, Istanbul, Turkey
  5. Geometry and Topology Seminar, June 2015, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey
  6. Atılım Geometry Topology Workshop, May 2015, Atılım University, Ankara, Turkey
  7. AMS Spring Western Sectional Meeting, Special Session on Contact Geometry, April 2015, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV
  8. The 13th Annual Graduate Student Geometry Topology Conference, March 2015, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, IL


      Since Fall 2018, I am co-organizing Geometry&Physics seminar at

      Northwestern University.


      In Fall 2014, I organized the Graduate Joint LA Geometry and Topology

      Seminar which gathered graduate students studying geometry and topology

      at Caltech, UCLA and USC.


      In Fall 2013 and Spring 2014, I was the organizer of Graduate Geometry

      Topology Seminar at USC.


       Seminar Talks at UCLA

  1. Quivers, Floer cohomology, and braid group actions, Winter 2017, UCLA
  2. Introduction to cluster algebras, Spring 2016, UCLA
  3. PL structures on smooth manifolds, Fall 2014, UCLA
  4. Compactness in symplectic field theory, Spring 2014, UCLA
  5. Gromov compactness, Winter 2013, UCLA


       Seminar Talks at USC

  1. Symplectic camel problem, Graduate Geometry and Topology Seminar, Spring 2017
  2. A geometer's attempt to study the topology of manifolds: Open book decompositions, Graduate Topology Seminar, Spring 2016
  3. Introduction to moduli spaces of J-holomorphic curves Part I, Graduate Geometry Topology Seminar, Fall 2015
  4. Introduction to moduli spaces of J-holomorphic curves Part II, Graduate Geometry Topology Seminar, Fall 2015
  5. Giroux correspondence, Ph.D. Candidacy Oral Exam, Fall 2013
  6. Existence and uniqueness of Stiefel-Whitney classes, Topology Working Seminar, Spring 2013



        Notes and Slides:

  • Here you can find slides of my AMS talk (2015) on symplectic mapping class group relations.