In this paper we describe a proof of the formulas of Witten [W1], [W2] about the symplectic volumes and the intersection numbers of the moduli spaces of principal bundles on a compact Riemann surface. It is known that these formulas give all the information needed for the Verlinde formula. The main idea of the proof is to use the heat kernel on compact Lie groups, in a way very similar to the heat kernel proof of the Atiyah-Singer index formula and the Atiyah-Bott fixed point formula. The… CONTINUE READING