Periodic orbits of Hamiltonian systems: the Conley conjecture and beyond
Viktor Ginzburg (University of California, Santa Cruz)
MSRI: Simons Auditorium
One distinguishing feature of Hamiltonian dynamical systems is that such systems, with very few exceptions, tend to have numerous periodic orbits and these orbits carry a lot of information about the dynamics of the system. In 1984 Conley conjectured that a Hamiltonian diffeomorphism (i.e., the time-one map of a Hamiltonian flow) of a torus has infinitely many periodic points. This conjecture was proved by Hingston some twenty years later, in 2004. Similar results for Hamiltonian diffeomorphisms of surfaces of positive genus were also established by Franks and Handel. Of course, one can expect the Conley conjecture to hold for a much broader class of closed symplectic manifolds and this is indeed the case as has been proved by Gurel, Hein and the speaker. However, the conjecture is known to fail for some, even very simple, phase spaces such as the sphere. These spaces admit Hamiltonian diffeomorphisms with finitely many periodic orbits -- the so-called pseudo-rotations -- which are of particular interest in dynamics. In this talk, we will discuss the role of periodic orbits in Hamiltonian dynamics and the methods used to prove their existence, and examine the situations where the Conley conjecture does not hold.