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Wednesday, February 12, 2020

**Abstract:** A topological dynamical system (i.e. a group acting by homeomorphisms on a compact Hausdorff space) is said to be proximal if for any two points $p$ and $q$ we can simultaneously "push them together" (rigorously, there is a net $g_n$ such that $\lim g_n(p) = \lim g_n(q)$). In his paper introducing the concept of proximality, Glasner noted that whenever $\mathbb{Z}$ acts proximally, that action will have a fixed point. He termed groups with this fixed point property "strongly amenable" and showed that non-amenable groups are not strongly amenable and virtually nilpotent groups are strongly amenable. In this talk I will discuss recent work precisely characterizing which (countable) groups are strongly amenable. This is joint work with Omer Tamuz and Pooya Vahidi Ferdowsi.