Tuesday, November 5, 2019 4:00 PM
Joshua Greene (Boston College)

How many simple closed curves can you draw on the surface of genus g in such a way that no two are isotopic and no two intersect in more than k points?  It is known how to draw a collection in which the number of curves grows as a polynomial in g of degree k+1, and conjecturally, this is the best possible.  I will describe a proof of an upper bound that matches this function up to a factor of log(g).  It is based on an elegant geometric argument due to Przytycki and employs some novel ideas blending covering spaces and probabilistic combinatorics.