A group is said to satisfy the Tits Alternative if its finitely generated subgroups exhibit a striking dichotomy: they are either "big" (they contain a non-abelian free subgroup) or "small" (they are virtually soluble). Many groups of geometric interest have been shown to satisfy the Tits Alternative: linear groups, mapping class groups of hyperbolic surfaces, etc. In this talk, I will explain how one can use ideas from group actions in negative curvature to prove such a dichotomy. In particular, I will show how one can prove a strengthening of the Tits Alternative for a large class of Artin groups. This is joint work with Piotr Przytycki.
- Topology Seminar