Abstract:
In this thesis, I worked on estimating the smallest k-dilation of all diffeomorphisms between two n-dimensional rectangles R and S. I proved that for many rectangles there are highly non-linear diffeomorphisms with much smaller k-dilation than any linear diffeomorphism. When k is equal to n-l, I determined the smallest k-dilation up to a constant factor. For all values of k and n, I solved the following related problem up to a constant factor. Given n-dimensional rectangles R and S, decide if there is an embedding of S into R which maps each k-dimensional submanifold of S to an image with larger k-volume. I also applied the k-dilation techniques to two purely topological problems: estimating the Hopf invariant of a map from a 3-manifold to a high-genus surface, and determining whether there is a map of non-zero degree from a 3-manifold to a hyperbolic 3-manifold.

Description:
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Mathematics, 2005.; Includes bibliographical references (p. 207-208).