Seminar: Basic Notions, Winter Term 2017/2018

Organisers: Constantin Eichenberg , Marco Fraccaroli , João Pedro Ramos, Catharina Stroppel

This seminar is organised by students as a BIGS event. The goal is to present topics from all areas of mathematics in an elementary and informal way. The talks should be accessible to a general mathematical audience.
Everybody (students, postdocs, faculty, guests) is welcome to attend.
Coffee, tea and cookies will be served afterwards.

If you would like to give a talk please contact us. Our e-mail address is basicnotions(at)

For receiving updates and information on upcoming talks, you can also subscribe to our Facebook page.

The seminar will take place Wednesdays 14-16 in room 1.007.

Previous instances of this seminar:
Summer Term 2017,
Winter Term 2016/17, Summer Term 2016,
Winter Term 2015/16, Summer Term 2015,
Winter Term 2014/15, Summer Term 2014,
Winter Term 2013/14.

Date Speaker Topic
25.10.2017 Marco Fraccaroli The Erdös distinct distances problem: a geometric approach.

October 25, 2017: Marco Fraccaroli

    The Erdös distinct distances problem: a geometric approach.

    Abstract. The Erdös distinct distances problem is one emblematic example of the many questions posed by the prolific Hungarian mathematician: simple in the statement and yet surprisingly rich and deep in the level of mathematics involved in the solution.

    The question is the following:

    how few distinct distances are determined by a set of N points in the plane?

    A heuristic approach suggests that the simmetries of the set play an important role in minimizing the number of distinct distances determined by it.

    Following the paper "On the Erdös distinct distances problem in the plane" of Guth and Katz, we will present the way to make this idea rigorous. Studying the problem in the group of rigid motions of the plane (translations and rotations), we will convert the problem to one of point-line incidences in space.

    Finally, we will briefly review some of the many research directions (all still open) starting from the Erdös distinct distances problem.