C^0-characterization of contact embeddings (via coisotropic embeddings)

Geometry Topology Seminar
Monday, November 7, 2016 - 14:00
1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Skiles 006
Georgia Southern University.
 We show that an embedding of a (small) ball into a contact manifold is contact if and only if it preserves the (modified) shape invariant. The latter is, in brief, the set of all cohomology classes that can be represented by the pull-back (to a closed one-form) of a contact form by a coisotropic embedding of a fixed manifold (of maximal dimension) and of a given homotopy type. The proof is based on displacement information about (non)-Lagrangian submanifolds that comes from J-holomorphic curve methods (and gives topological invariants), and the construction of a coisotropic torus whose image (under a given embedding that is not contact) admits a transverse contact vector field (i.e. a convex surface in dimension 3). The definition of shape preserving does not involve derivatives and is preserved by uniform convergence (on compact subsets). As a consequence, we prove C^0-rigidity of contact embeddings (and diffeomorphisms). The underlying ideas are adaptations of symplectic techniques to contact manifolds that, in contrast to symplectic capacities, work well in the contact setting; the heart of the proof however uses purely contact topological methods.