Distinguished Lectures and Public Lectures: Mirzakhani’s starting point
24 February 2016 14:00 in CLC013
In 2014, Maryam Mirzakhani of Stanford University became the first women to be awarded the Fields medal. The starting point of her work was a remarkable relationship called McShane’s identity, about the lengths of simple closed curves on certain hyperbolic surfaces. The proof of this identity, including the Birman-Series theorem about simple curves on surfaces, uses only quite basic ideas in hyperbolic geometry which I will try to explain. We will then look briefly at Mirzakhani’s ingenious way of exploiting the identity and where it led.
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