The curve complex of a surface

School of Mathematics Colloquium
Friday, December 7, 2012 - 4:00pm for 1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Skiles 006
Joan Birman – Columbia University
John Etnyre

Please Note: 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.