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Candidate Presentation, Canary Professorship

Event Type
245 AH and Zoom
Apr 27, 2022   4:00 - 5:00 pm  
Chris Bishop, Stony Brook
Aimo Hinkkanen

Please contact Aimo H. ( for Zoom link. 

Speaker: Christopher Bishop, Stony Brook University

Title:  Weil-Petersson curves, traveling salesman theorems, and minimal surfaces

Abstract: Weil-Petersson curves are a  class of rectifiable closed  curves in the plane, defined as the closure of the smooth curves with respect to the Weil-Petersson metric defined by Takhtajan and Teo in 2009. Their work solved a problem from string theory by making the space of closed loops into a Hilbert manifold, but the same class of curves also arises naturally in complex analysis, probability theory, knot theory,  applied mathematics, and other areas. No geometric description of Weil-Petersson curves was known until 2019, but there are now more than thirty equivalent conditions.   One involves inscribed polygons and can be explained to a calculus student. Another is a strengthening of Peter Jones's traveling salesman theorem characterizing rectifiable curves. A third  says a curve is Weil-Petersson iff it bounds a minimal surface in hyperbolic space that has finite total curvature. I will discuss these and several other characterizations, and sketch  why they are all equivalent to each other. 

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