The curve complex of a surface

Series: 
School of Mathematics Colloquium
Friday, December 7, 2012 - 16:00
1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Location: 
Skiles 006
,  
Columbia University
Organizer: 

Kickoff of the Tech Topology Conference from December 7-9, 2012.

This will be a Colloquium talk, aimed at a general audience.  The topic is the curve complex, introduced by Harvey in 1974. It's a simplicial complex, and was introduced as a tool to study mapping class groups of surfaces. I will discuss recent joint work with Bill Menasco about new local pathology in the curve complex, namely that its geodesics can have dead ends and even double dead ends.