Matthew Kahle, Member of the Institute of Advanced Study
Date and Time: Nov 23, 2011 (12:30 PM)
Location: Orchard room (3280) at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery Building
Configuration spaces of hard spheres (in two dimensions,
hard disks) are fundamental objects in topology as well as physics.
Yet so far very little is known about the topology of these spaces. I
will report on joint work with G. Carlsson, J. Gorham, and J. Mason on
developing computational Morse theoretic methods for understanding the
topology of these spaces. Dozens of changes in topology may already
be observed with five particles, suggesting intricate topology
underlying liquid-solid phase transitions.