From topology to algebraic geometry and back again
I would like to present applications of secants in topology through k-regular embeddings. An embedding of a variety in an affine space is called k-regular if any k points are mapped to linearly independent points. Numeric conditions for the existence of such maps are an object of intensive studies of algebraic topologists dating back to the problem posed by Borsuk in the fifties. Current world record results were obtained by Pavle Blagojevic, Wolfgang Lueck and Guenter Ziegler. Our results relate k-regular maps to punctual versions of secant varieties. This allows us to prove existence of such maps in special cases. The main new ingredient is providing relations to the geometry of the punctual Hilbert scheme and its Gorenstein locus. The talk is based on two joint works: with Jarosław Buczynski, Tadeusz Januszkiewicz and Joachim Jelisiejew and with Christopher Miller: arXiv:1511.05707 and arXiv:1512.00609.