# Questions tagged [billiards]

Billiards are a class of dynamical systems in which a point particle moves uniformly in a domain $D\subset \mathbb{R}^d$ except for mirror-like reflections from the boundary. Varying $D$ leads to examples satisfying many ergodic properties. Billiards enhance visual explanations of dynamical concepts to students and the general public. There are many applications in physics and image processing. The free motion and/or reflection rule may be generalized.

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### Can one "hear" the shape of a polygon via external reflections?

This question is a rough analog of Kac's "Can One Hear the Shape of a Drum?" A closer analog is the recent "Bounce Theorem" that says, roughly, the shape of a polygon is determined by its billiard-...
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### Infinite number of points reflecting on the circle, must some two (or more) ever meet?

I just created a following problem. Suppose that we have an infinite number of points on the circle and that they at the same time start to travel (all with the same speed) from the point where they ...
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### Trapping lightrays with segment mirrors

Q. Is it possible to trap all the light from one point source by a finite collection of two-sided disjoint segment mirrors? I posed this question in several forums before (e.g., here and in an ...
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### A Really Simple Stochastic Dynamic Billiard

Consider the following stochastic dynamical system. Fix $a > 0$, $b > 0$, $c>0$ and $v > 0$, and let $\mathbf{r}(t)=(x(t),y(t),z(t))$ be the position at time $t$ of a point which moves ...
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### 3D Billiards problem inside a torus

I have been trying to simulate the behavior of a light particle being reflected inside of a torus (essentially a 3D billiards problem). I have found that after a few thousand bounces, it converges on "...
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This is a question in a rather well investigated subject of which I know very little and I have a hard time "translating" the general results available. Let me also say that I got interested in this ...
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### Current state of Straus's illumination problem

In George W. Tokarsky's Polygonal Rooms Not Illuminable from Every Point (1995) it is stated that the problem Is a polygonal region illuminable from at least one point in the region? was still ...
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### Existence of periodic orbits in rational billiards

Recently I've got interested in dynamical billiards. Some results in this field are obtained by elementary methods. For instance, see George W. Tokarsky's Polygonal Rooms Not Illuminable from Every ...
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### Periodic billiard paths in hyperbolic triangles

It is a theorem of Masur that all rational triangles in the Euclidean plane posses a periodic billiard path, one obeying the reflection law that the angle of incidence equals the angle of reflection. ...
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### Boundedness of partial products for a divergent trig product

I am looking at a discrete dynamical system and I wish to show that it is bounded. I know that the displacement after $n$ iterations is given by the product \Delta_n=\prod_{k=0}^n \left(1+\frac{2\...
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### Complexity of recognizing equivalent translation surfaces

"A translation surface is a union of polygons with pairs of parallel edges identified by translation, up to cut and paste equivalence." I take that succinct (and not fully precise) definition from a ...
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### How much energy will be released in the explosion when one shoots a superelastic billiard ball into a collection of still superelastic billiard balls?

Consider the following scenario. Let $\alpha>1$. Suppose whenever two superelastic balls collide at speed $\gamma$ they bounce off each other at speed $\gamma\cdot\alpha$ (i.e. $\alpha$ is the ...
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### Mathematical Billiards: Set of starting points and velocities hitting boundary at time t

In the simplest setting $\Omega$ smooth compact and convex in $R^n$ with linear constant speed trajectories that is ($q_t=q_0+t\cdot v$ until the collision point). What is known about the structure ...
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### Are periodic billiard trajectories stable on a manifold with strictly convex boundary?

Let $(M,g)$ be a compact Riemannian manifold with strictly convex boundary. Let $\gamma:S^1\to M$ be a periodic billiard trajectory (geodesic in the interior and reflects specularly at the boundary). ...
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### Which polygons have *simple* periodic billiard paths?

I know (or, rather, believe) that it remains unknown whether every polygon has a periodic billiard path. But Howard Masur proved in the 1980's that every rational polygon (vertex angles rational ...
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### What "real life" problems can be solved using billiards?

Recently I gave an interview to local media where I explained some basic open problems in billiard dynamics. After a 45 min interview the reported asked me what "real life" problems can be ...
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### The view from inside of a mirrored tetrahedron

Suppose you were standing inside a regular tetrahedron $T$ whose internal face surfaces were perfect mirrors. Let's assume $T$'s height is $3{\times}$ yours, so that your eye is roughly at the ...
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### Billiard dynamics with angle of reflection a fraction of angle of incidence

Suppose that a billiard ball bouncing in a unit square (or a lightray reflecting in a mirrored square) has the property that the angle of reflection is a fraction of the angle of incidence, rather ...
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### Unfoldings of trajectories on the Veech triangle $V_4$

Let $V_4$ be the isosceles triangle with base angle $\pi/8$. $V_4$ is a Veech triangle, so the dynamics of billiards on it are very well understood. Above is the unfolding of $V_4$, with edge ...
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### Existence of nonergodic polygonal billiard

Let $P$ be a polygon in the plane. One can define the billiard flow on the unit tangent bundle of $P$, just following the trajectories of the billiard at speed one. A standard conjecture is that a ...
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### Raphael Douady's thesis: Applications du théorème des tores invariants

Raphael Douady's thesis, Applications du théorème des tores invariants, has been cited in numerous papers by many experts. According Wikipedia, he proves of the equivalence of KAM ...
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### Perfectly centered break of a perfectly aligned pool ball rack

Imagine the beginning of a game of pool, you have 16 balls, 15 of them in a triangle <| and 1 of them being the cue ball off to the left of that triangle. Imagine that the rack (the 15 balls in a ...
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### Well-definedness of single-particle smooth billiards flow

Single-particle billiards systems in a domain with corners, or multi-particle billiards in a domain with smooth boundary, can exhibit singularities in finite time. (The former phenomenon is well known;...
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### A special tessellation

Let $P$ be a convex $n$-gon. Suppose that we have an infinite number of $P$s, and that each of them is colored either red or blue. Here, let us consider the following operations : Operation 1 : Place ...
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In Billiards in Rectangles with Barriers, Eskin-Masur-Schmoll count the number of primitive square-tiled surfaces with two cone points with angle $4\pi$ for one cone point with angle $6\pi$: (See also)...