Theses Doctoral

A Proof of Looijenga's Conjecture via Integral-Affine Geometry

Engel, Philip

A cusp singularity is a surface singularity whose minimal resolution is a reduced cycle of smooth rational curves meeting transversely. Cusp singularities come in naturally dual pairs. In 1981, Looijenga proved that whenever a cusp singularity is smoothable, the minimal resolution of the dual cusp is an anticanonical divisor of some smooth rational surface. He conjectured the converse.

This dissertation provides a proof of Looijenga's conjecture based on a combinatorial criterion for smoothability given by Friedman and Miranda in 1983, and explores the geometry of the space of smoothings. The key tool in the proof is the use of integral-affine surfaces, two-dimensional manifolds whose transition functions are valued in the integral-affine transformation group. Motivated by the proof and recent work in mirror symmetry, we make a conjecture regarding the structure of the smoothing components of a cusp singularity.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Friedman, Robert
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 24, 2015