Polygonal Billiards and Translation Surfaces

Luke Jeffreys

Friday 20th October, 2017 16:00-17:00 Maths 311B


The motion of an ideal billiard ball inside a polygon is a dynamical system that is easily described and moreover arises in the study of other physical systems. However, certain questions about the dynamics of such billiards, though easily posed, require very deep and technical results to solve and in some cases still remain open. In this talk, I will discuss how answering such questions leads to the construction of translation surfaces and how the study of these objects is intimately related to problems in areas such as solid state physics, number theory, algebraic geometry and more.

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