### Abstract

Meyer showed that the signature of a closed oriented surface bundle over a surface is a multiple of 4, and can be computed using an element of H2
.Sp.2g; Z/; Z/. If we denote by 1 ! Z ! SpC.2g; Z/ ! Sp.2g; Z/ ! 1 the pullback of the universal cover of CSp.2g; R/, then by a theorem of Deligne, every finite index subgroup of Sp.2g; Z/ contains 2Z. As a consequence, a class in the second cohomology of any finite quotient of Sp.2g; Z/ can at most enable us to compute the signature of a surface bundle modulo 8. We show that this is in fact possible and investigate the smallest quotient of Sp.2g; Z/ that contains this information. This quotient H is a nonsplit extension of Sp.2g; 2/ by an elementary abelian group of order 2 2gC1. There is a central extension 1 ! Z=2 ! Hz ! H ! 1, and Hz appears as a quotient of the metaplectic double cover Mp.2g; Z/ D SpC.2g; Z/=2Z. It is an extension of Sp.2g; 2/ by an almost extraspecial group of order 2 2gC2 , and has a faithful irreducible complex representation of dimension 2g. Provided g > 4, the extension Hz is the universal central extension of H. Putting all this together, in Section 4 we provide a recipe for computing the signature modulo 8, and indicate some consequences.

Original language | English |
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Pages (from-to) | 4069–4091 |

Number of pages | 23 |

Journal | Algebraic & Geometric Topology |

Volume | 18 |

DOIs | |

Publication status | Published - 11 Dec 2018 |

### Keywords

- surface bundles
- signature modulo 8
- signature cocycle
- Meyer
- group cohomology
- symplectic groups

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## Cite this

Benson, D., Campagnolo, C., Ranicki, A., & Rovi, C. (2018). Cohomology of symplectic groups and Meyer’s signature theorem.

*Algebraic & Geometric Topology*,*18*, 4069–4091. https://doi.org/10.2140/agt.2018.18.4069