Geometry Topology Seminar Pre-talk
Monday, February 11, 2019 - 12:45pm
1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
The semi-cubical cusp which is formed in the bottom of a mug when you shine a light on it is an everyday example of a caustic. In this talk we will become familiar with the singularities of Lagrangian and Legendrian fronts, also known as caustics in the mathematics literature, which have played an important role in symplectic and contact topology since the work of Arnold and his collaborators. For this purpose we will discuss some basic singularity theory, the method of generating families in cotangent bundles, the geometry of the front projection, the Legendrian Reidemeister theorem, and draw many pictures of the simplest examples.