Rice University Department of Mathematics Colloquium

The plaid model and outer billiards

4:00 pm Thursday, October 1, 2015
Rich Schwartz (Brown)

Abstract: Outer billiards is a dynamical system that is similar in spirit to ordinary billiards, except that the ball moves around the outside of the table. Even for simple tables, such as kites (quadrilaterals with bilateral symmetry) the orbits produced have a rich combinatorial structure. I'll describe a combinatorial model, which I call the plaid model, which predicts the shapes of these orbits for kites. The model involves mathematics which is similar in spirit to what one sees for quasi-periodic tilings.

Return to Colloquium page