(Non-)amenability of B(E)

Research paper by Volker Runde

Indexed on: 01 Nov '09Published on: 01 Nov '09Published in: Mathematics - Functional Analysis


In 1972, the late B. E. Johnson introduced the notion of an amenable Banach algebra and asked whether the Banach algebra $B(E)$ of all bounded linear operators on a Banach space $E$ could ever be amenable if $\dim E = \infty$. Somewhat surprisingly, this question was answered positively only very recently as a by-product of the Argyros--Haydon result that solves the "scalar plus compact problem": there is an infinite-dimensional Banach space $E$, the dual of which is $\ell^1$, such that $B(E) = K(E)+ \mathbb{C} \id_E$. Still, $B(\ell^2)$ is not amenable, and in the past decade, $ B(\ell^p)$ was found to be non-amenable for $p=1,2,\infty$ thanks to the work of C. J. Read, G. Pisier, and N. Ozawa. We survey those results, and then--based on joint work with M. Daws--outline a proof that establishes the non-amenability of $B(\ell^p)$ for all $p \in [1,\infty]$.