Symplectic embeddings and infinite staircases. 

27 January 2020

McDuff and Schlenk determined when a four-dimensional symplectic ellipsoid can be symplectically embedded into a four-dimensional ball. They found that if the ellipsoid is close to round, the answer is given by an ``infinite staircase" determined by the odd index Fibonacci numbers, while if the ellipsoid is sufficiently stretched, all obstructions vanish except for the volume obstruction. Infinite staircases have also been found when embedding ellipsoids into polydisks (Frenkel - Muller, Usher) and into the ellipsoid E(2, 3) (Cristofaro-Gardiner - Kleinman). In this talk, we will see how the sharpness of ECH capacities for embedding of ellipsoids implies the existence of infinite staircases for these and three other target spaces.  We will then discuss the relationship with toric varieties, lattice point counting, and the Philadelphia subway system. This is joint work with Dan Cristofaro-Gardiner, Alessia Mandini,
and Ana Rita Pires.


  • Geometry and Analysis Seminar