Volume 8, issue 3 (2004)

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Tetra and Didi, the cosmic spectral twins

Peter G Doyle and Juan Pablo Rossetti

Geometry & Topology 8 (2004) 1227–1242

arXiv: math.DG/0407422


We introduce a pair of isospectral but non-isometric compact flat 3–manifolds called Tetra (a tetracosm) and Didi (a didicosm). The closed geodesics of Tetra and Didi are very different. Where Tetra has two quarter-twisting geodesics of the shortest length, Didi has four half-twisting geodesics. Nevertheless, these spaces are isospectral. This isospectrality can be proven directly by matching eigenfunctions having the same eigenvalue. However, the real interest of this pair – and what led us to discover it – is the way isospectrality emerges from the Selberg trace formula, as the result of a delicate interplay between the lengths and twists of closed geodesics.

flat structure, 3–manifold, platycosm, Laplace spectrum, isospectral, Selberg trace formula, closed geodesic
Mathematical Subject Classification 2000
Primary: 57M50, 58J53
Secondary: 11F72, 53C22
Forward citations
Received: 17 July 2003
Revised: 20 September 2004
Accepted: 21 September 2004
Published: 22 September 2004
Proposed: Walter Neumann
Seconded: Benson Farb, Steven Ferry
Peter G Doyle
Department of Mathematics
Dartmouth College
New Hampshire 03755-3551
Juan Pablo Rossetti
FaMAF – Ciem
Universidad Nacional de Córdoba