Pure and Applied Mathematics Quarterly

Volume 19 (2023)

Number 4

Special Issue in honor of Victor Guillemin

Guest Editors: Yael Karshon, Richard Melrose, Gunther Uhlmann, and Alejandro Uribe

Which Hessenberg varieties are GKM?

Pages: 1899 – 1942

DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.4310/PAMQ.2023.v19.n4.a8


Rebecca Goldin (George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, U.S.A.)

Julianna Tymoczko (Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts, U.S.A.)


Hessenberg varieties $\mathcal{H}(X,H)$ form a class of subvarieties of the flag variety $G/B$, parameterized by an operator $X$ and certain subspaces $H$ of the Lie algebra of $G$. We identify several families of Hessenberg varieties in type $A_{n-1}$ that are $T$-stable subvarieties of $G/B$, as well as families that are invariant under a subtorus $K$ of $T$. In particular, these varieties are candidates for the use of equivariant methods to study their geometry. Indeed, we are able to show that some of these varieties are unions of Schubert varieties, while others cannot be such unions.

Among the $T$-stable Hessenberg varieties, we identify several that are GKM spaces, meaning $T$ acts with isolated fixed points and a finite number of one-dimensional orbits, though we also show that not all Hessenberg varieties with torus actions and finitely many fixed points are GKM.

We conclude with a series of open questions about Hessenberg varieties, both in type $A_{n-1}$ and in general Lie type.


Hessenberg varieties, GKM spaces, GKM theory, Schubert varieties

2010 Mathematics Subject Classification

Primary 14M15. Secondary 14L30.

To our inspirational advisor, friend, and cheerleader, Victor Guillemin

The first author was partially supported by National Science Foundation (NSF) grant #2152312, and the second author was partially supported by NSF grant #2054513.

Received 18 January 2022

Received revised 12 November 2022

Accepted 29 December 2022

Published 20 November 2023