Color-Critical Graphs on Surfaces

Dissertation Defense
Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 10:00
1.5 hours (actually 80 minutes)
Skiles 114
School of Mathematics, Georgia Tech
A graph is (t+1)-critical if it is not t-colorable, but every proper subgraph is. In this thesis, we study the structure of critical graphs on higher surfaces. One major result in this area is Carsten Thomassen's proof that there are finitely many 6-critical graphs on a fixed surface. This proof involves a structural theorem about a precolored cycle C of length q. In general terms, he proves that a coloring \phi of C can be extended inside the cycle, or there exists a subgraph H with at most 5^{q^3} vertices such that \phi cannot be extended to a 5-coloring of H. In Chapter 2, we provide an alternative proof that reduces the number of vertices in H to be cubic in q. In Chapter 3, we find the nine 6-critical graphs among all graphs embeddable on the Klein bottle. Finally, in Chapter 4, we prove a result concerning critical graphs related to an analogue of Steinberg's conjecture for higher surfaces. We show that if G is a 4-critical graph embedded on surface \Sigma, with Euler genus g and has no cycles of length four through ten, then |V(G)| \leq 2442g + 37.