2/28 – Floyd Williams: If tractroids were black hole vacua, we would all be dead

The math club offers a pleasant place to take a break in busy exam weeks. Floyd Williams gives a talk for us. For the abstract, see below:

A tractroid ( or pseudosphere ) is a surface generated by revolving a special curve ( a tractrix ) about an axis. By a clever change of variables one can find a nice realization of this surface as a certain “vaccum space”, which mathematicians call an orbifold -the latter being defined by a simple relation between points. This vaccum space is similar in nature to a 2-dimensional black hole with mass degenerating to zero. Thankfully however these objects are “not” the same (otherwise there’s no life on earth ), and thankfully no knowledge of black holes is needed for the talk-which mainly involves calculus.