Asymptotics of surface group representations along rays

Geometry Topology Seminar
Monday, October 10, 2022 - 2:00pm for 1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Skiles 006
Mike Wolf – Georgia Tech
John Etnyre

We study a particular distinguished component (the 'Hitchin component') of the space of surface group representations to SL(3,\R).  In this setting, both Hitchin (via Higgs bundles) and the more ancient subject of affine spheres associate a bundle of holomorphic differentials over Teichmuller space to this component of the character variety.  We focus on a ray of holomorphic differentials and provide a formula, tropical in appearance, for the asymptotic holonomy of the representations in terms of the local geometry of the differential.  Alternatively, we show how the associated equivariant harmonic maps to a symmetric space converge to a harmonic map to a building, with geometry determined by the differential. All of this is joint work with John Loftin and Andrea Tamburelli, and all the constructions and definitions will be (likely briskly) explained.