##### Department of Mathematics,

University of California San Diego

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### Food for Thought

## Sean Raleigh

#### UCSD Graduate Student

## Contact geometry: An uneven plane field

##### Abstract:

Contact geometry has been around, in one form or another, for over two centuries, used primarily in the study of optics and differential equations. But it wasn't until the 1980s that the field of contact topology really came into its own. That is, in the last two decades, mathematicians have made great progress in answering questions about the global nature of spaces equipped with a contact structure. \vskip .1in \noindent In my talk, I will explain what a contact structure is mostly by drawing pretty pictures. Then I'll explain a bit about doing knot theory in the presence of a contact structure. \vskip .1in \noindent No knowledge of geometry or topology will be required to understand my talk. Scout's honor! If you know what a vector is, you'll be just fine. Also, I promise that within the first fifteen minutes of my talk, you'll understand the dumb joke I used for the title. And if that doesn't whet your appetite, I'm not sure what will (other than the cryptic hints Maia and Henning are dropping about the possible presence of food).

Host:

### January 19, 2006

### 10:00 AM

### AP&M 5829

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