Train tracks, braids, and dynamics on surfaces

Research Horizons Seminar
Wednesday, December 1, 2010 - 12:00
1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Skiles 171
School of Mathematics - Georgia Institute of Technology

Hosts: Yao Li and Ricardo Restrepo

Suppose you want to stir a pot of soup with several spoons.  What is the most efficient way to do this?  Thurston's theory of surface homeomorphisms gives us a concrete way to analyze this question.  That is, to each mixing pattern we can associate a real number called the entropy.  We'll start from scratch with a simple example, state the Nielsen-Thurston classification of surface homeomorphisms, and give some open questions about entropies of surface homeomorphisms.