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Mathematics  2015 

On the subriemannian geometry of contact Anosov flows

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Abstract:

We investigate certain natural connections between subriemannian geometry and hyperbolic dynamical systems. In particular, we study dynamically defined horizontal distributions which split into two integrable ones and ask: how is the energy of a subriemannian geodesic shared between its projections onto the integrable summands? We show that if the horizontal distribution is the sum of the strong stable and strong unstable distributions of a special type of a contact Anosov flow in three dimensions, then for any short enough subriemannian geodesic connecting points on the same orbit of the Anosov flow, the energy of the geodesic is shared \emph{equally} between its projections onto the stable and unstable bundles. The proof relies on a connection between the geodesic equations and the harmonic oscillator equation, and its explicit solution by the Jacobi elliptic functions. Using a different idea, we prove an analogous result in higher dimensions for the geodesic flow of a closed Riemannian manifold of constant negative curvature.

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