Communications in Mathematics |

Editors: Jacob Mostovoy & Sergei Chmutov

It is conjectured since long that for any convex body $K \subset \mathbb{R}^n$ there exists a point in the interior of $K$ which belongs to at least $2n$ normals from different points on the boundary of $K$. The conjecture is known to be true for $n=2,3,4$. Motivated by a recent results of Y. Martinez-Maure, and an approach by A. Grebennikov and G. Panina, we prove the following: Let a compact smooth $m$-dimensional manifold $M^m$ be immersed in $ \mathbb{R}^n$. We assume that at least one of the homology groups $H_k(M^m,\mathbb{Z}_2)$ with $k<m$ vanishes. Then under mild conditions, almost every normal line to $M^m$ contains an intersection point of at least $\beta +4$ normals from different points of $M^m$, where $\beta$ is the sum of Betti numbers of $M^m$.

Tropical sandpile model (or linearized sandpile model) is the only known continuous geometric model exhibiting self-organised criticality. This model represents the scaling limit behavior of a small perturbation of the maximal stable sandpile state on a big subset of $\mathbb Z^2$. Given a set $P$ of points in a compact convex domain $\Omega\subset \mathbb R^2$ this linearized model produces a tropical polynomial $G_P{\bf 0}_\Omega$. Here we present some quantitative statistical characteristics of this model and some speculative explanations. Namely, we study the dependence between the number $n$ of randomly dropped points $P=\{p_1,\dots,p_n\}\subset[0,1]^2=\Omega$ and the degree of the tropical polynomial $G_{P}{\bf 0}_\Omega$. We also study the distributions of the coefficients of $G_{P}{\bf 0}_\Omega$ and the correlation between them. This paper's main (experimental) result is that the tropical curve $C(G_{P}{\bf 0}_\Omega)$ defined by $G_{P}{\bf 0}_\Omega$ is a small perturbation of the standard square grid lines. This explains a previously known fact that most of the edges of the tropical curve $C(G_{P}{\bf 0}_\Omega)$ are of directions $(1,0),(0,1),(1,1),(-1,1)$. The main theoretical result is that $C(G_{P}{\bf 0}_\Omega)\setminus (P\cap \partial\Omega)$, i.e. the tropical curve in $\Omega^\circ$ with marked points $P$ removed, is a tree.

A relaxation in the tropical sandpile model is a process of deforming a tropical hypersurface towards a finite collection of points. We show that, in the one-dimensional case, a relaxation terminates after a finite number of steps. We present experimental evidence suggesting that the number of such steps obeys a power law.