Morse theory

Michael McBreen, Princeton University
Fine Hall 314

Morse theory gives the cell structure of a manifold in terms of the critical points of a 'random' real-valued function on this manifold. Besides being clever and pleasing to the eye, it has given us Bott periodicity, counts of geodesics, periodic orbits of dynamical systems, Heegard Floer homology, the foundations of Mirror Symmetry and many many more riches. I will explain the construction in detail, then sketch the applications.