Contact geometry, open books and monodromy

Geometry Topology Seminar
Monday, April 6, 2009 - 15:00
1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Emory, W306 MSC (Math and Science Center)
School of Mathematics, Georgia Tech

Joint meeting at Emory

Recall that an open book decomposition of a 3-manifold M is a link L in M whose complement fibers over the circle with fiber a Seifert surface for L. Giroux's correspondence relates open book decompositions of a manifold M to contact structures on M. This correspondence has been fundamental to our understanding of contact geometry. An intriguing question raised by this correspondence is how geometric properties of a contact structure are reflected in the monodromy map describing the open book decomposition. In this talk I will show that there are several interesting monoids in the mapping class group that are related to various properties of a contact structure (like being Stein fillable, weakly fillable, . . .). I will also show that there are open book decompositions of Stein fillable contact structures whose monodromy cannot be factored as a product of positive Dehn twists. This is joint work with Jeremy Van Horn-Morris and Ken Baker.