Friday, September 11, 2020 - 4:00pm
yums seminar series
Taffy Machines, Braids, and Fibrations: Topology and Dynamics in Dimensions 1, 2 and 3
The rods of a taffy machine pull and stretch the soft candy, lengthening it by a particular irrational number after every cycle. Such machines were invented in the early 1900’s, and in the 1970’s Bill Thurston brought the taffy machine together with the theory of braids, surface automorphisms, and fibered 3-manifolds. This work uncovered deep connections between different fields of mathematics and informed a tremendous amount of mathematical research that is still going on today. I will try to give a little bit of the flavor of it.