Michael Magee

Durham University

The maximal spectral gap of a hyperbolic surface

Geometry and Topology Seminar

24th January 2023, 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Fry Building, 2.04

A hyperbolic surface is a surface with metric of constant curvature -1. The spectral gap between the first two eigenvalues of the Laplacian on a closed hyperbolic surface contains a good deal of information about the surface, including its connectivity, dynamical properties of its geodesic flow, and error terms in geodesic counting problems. For arithmetic hyperbolic surfaces the spectral gap is also the subject of one of the biggest open problems in automorphic forms: Selberg's eigenvalue conjecture.

A conjecture of Buser from the 1980s stated that there exists a sequence of closed hyperbolic surfaces with genera tending to infinity and spectral gap tending to 1/4. (The value 1/4 here is the asymptotically optimal one.) We proved that such a sequence does exist. I'll discuss the very interesting background of this problem in detail as well as some ideas of the proof.

This is joint work with Will Hide.

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