How to defeat a many-headed monster

6 February 2013
Elisabeth Fink -- Queen's Lecture C
<p>In the Greek mythology the hydra is a many-headed poisonous beast. When cutting one of its heads off, it will grow two more. Inspired by how Hercules defeated the hydra, Dison and Riley constructed a family of groups defined by two generators and one relator, which is an Engel&nbsp; word: the hydra groups. I will talk about its remarkably wild subgroup distortion and its hyperbolic cousin. Very recent discussions of Baumslag and Mikhailov show that those groups are residually torsion-free nilpotent and they introduce generalised hydra groups.</p>