Random Walks on Mapping Class Groups

7 May 2014
Henry Bradford

An important moral truth about the mapping class group of a closed orientable surface is the following: a generic mapping class has no power fixing a finite family of simple closed curves on the surface. Such "generic" elements are called pseudo-Anosov. In this talk I will discuss one instantiation of this principle, namely that the probability of a simple random walk on the mapping class group returning a non-pseudo Anosov element decays exponentially quickly.