We study the homotopy groups of a finite CW complex X via constraints on the geometry of representatives of their elements. For example, one can measure the “size” of α ∈ π n (X) by the optimal Lipschitz constant or volume of a representative. By comparing the geometrical structure thus obtained with the algebraic structure of the group, one can define functions such as growth and distortion in πn(X), analogously to the way that such functions are studied in asymptotic geometric group theory.
We provide a number of examples and techniques for studying these invariants, with a special focus on spaces with few rational homotopy groups. Our main theorem characterizes those X in which all non-torsion homotopy classes are undistorted, that is, their volume distortion functions, and hence also their Lipschitz distortion functions, are linear.
|School:||The University of Chicago|
|School Location:||United States -- Illinois|
|Source:||DAI-B 76/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Geometric group theory, Homotopy, Quantitative topology, Topology|
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