Gap problems in higher dimensions: from Kronecker sequences to quantum oscillators

​Speaker: Jens Marklof (University of Bristol)


Take a point on the unit circle and rotate it N times by a fixed angle. The N points thus generated partition the circle into N intervals. A beautiful fact, first conjectured by Hugo Steinhaus in the 1950s and proved independently by Vera Sós, János Surányi and Stanisław Świerczkowski, is that for any choice of N, no matter how large, these intervals can have at most three distinct lengths. In this lecture I will explore an interpretation of the three gap theorem in terms of the space of Euclidean lattices, which will produce various new results in higher dimensions, including nearest neighbour distances in multi-dimensional Kronecker sequences, free flights in the Lorentz gas, and quantum spectra of harmonic oscillators. The lecture is based on joint work with Alan Haynes (Houston) and Andreas Strömbergsson (Uppsala).



    J. Marklof and A. Strömbergsson, The three gap theorem and the space of lattices, American Mathematical Monthly 124 (2017) 741-745

    A. Haynes and J. Marklof, Higher dimensional Steinhaus and Slater problems via homogeneous dynamics, Annales scientifiques de l'Ecole normale superieure 53 (2020) 537-557

    A. Haynes and J. Marklof, A five distance theorem for Kronecker sequences, preprint arXiv:2009.08444


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Additional Information

This is part of the Mathematics Colloquium Series.