Mathematics Colloquia and Seminars

Return to Colloquia & Seminar listing

Thin groups: arithmetic and beyond


Speaker: Elena Fuchs, UC Berkeley
Location: 2112 MSB
Start time: Wed, Jan 30 2013, 3:00PM

In 1643, Ren\'{e} Descartes discovered a formula relating curvatures of circles in Apollonian circle packings, constructed by Apollonius of Perga in 200 BC. This formula has recently led to a connection between the construction of Apollonius and orbits of a certain so-called \emph{thin} subgroup $\Gamma$ of $\textrm{GL}_4(\mathbb Z)$. This connection is key in recent results on the arithmetic of Apollonian packings, which I will describe in this talk. A crucial ingredient in the proofs is the spectral gap coming from families of expander graphs associated to $\Gamma$ -- this gap is far less understood in the case of thin groups than that of non-thin groups. Motivated by this problem, I will then discuss the ubiquity of thin groups and present results on thinness of monodromy groups of hypergeometric equations in the case where these groups act on hyperbolic space.

Department Tea immediately following in the Alder Room.