## Proceedings of the Centre for Mathematics and its Applications

### Mednykh's Formula via Lattice Topological Quantum Field Theories

Noah Snyder

#### Abstract

Mednykh [Me78] proved that for any finite group G and any orientable surface S, there is a formula for $# \mathrm{Hom}(\pi_1(S),G)$ in terms of the Euler characteristic of $S$ and the dimensions of the irreducible representations of $G$. A similar formula in the nonorientable case was proved by Frobenius and Schur [FS06]. Both of these proofs use character theory and an explicit presentation for $\pi_1$. These results have been reproven using quantum field theory ([FQ93], [MY05], and others). Here we present a greatly simplified proof of these results which uses only elementary topology and combinatorics. The main tool is an elementary invariant of surfaces attached to a semisimple algebra called a lattice topological quantum field theory.

#### Article information

Dates
First available in Project Euclid: 21 February 2017