Members & Former Members

Ph Dr. Jonathan Bowden

Project leader


38Geometry of surface homeomorphism groups

Publications within SPP2026

We show that the identity component of the group of diffeomorphisms of a closed oriented surface of positive genus admits many unbounded quasi-morphisms. As a corollary, we also deduce that this group is not uniformly perfect and its fragmentation norm is unbounded, answering a question of Burago--Ivanov--Polterovich. As a key tool we construct a hyperbolic graph on which these groups act, which is the analog of the curve graph for the mapping class group.



JournalJ. Amer. Math. Soc.
Link to preprint version

Related project(s):
38Geometry of surface homeomorphism groups

Building on work of Bowden-Hensel-Webb, we study the action of the homeomorphism group of a surface $S$ on the fine curve graph $\mathcal{C}^\dagger(S)$.  While the definition of $\mathcal{C}^\dagger(S)$ parallels the classical curve graph for mapping class groups, we show that the dynamics of the action of $\mathrm{Homeo}(S)$ on $\mathcal{C}^\dagger(S)$ is much richer:  homeomorphisms induce parabolic isometries in addition to elliptics and hyperbolics, and all positive reals are realized as asymptotic translation lengths. 

When the surface $S$ is a torus, we relate the dynamics of the action of a homeomorphism on $\mathcal{C}^\dagger(S)$ to the dynamics of its action on the torus via the classical theory of {\em rotation sets}.  We characterize homeomorphisms acting hyperbolically, show asymptotic translation length provides a lower bound for the area of the rotation set, and, while no characterisation purely in terms of rotation sets is possible, we give sufficient conditions for elements to be elliptic or parabolic.  

Related project(s):
38Geometry of surface homeomorphism groups

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