This chapter describes Thurston's original path of discovery to the Nielsen–Thurston classification theorem. It first provides an example that illustrates much of the general theory, focusing on Thurston's iteration of homeomorphisms on simple closed curves as well as the linear algebra of train tracks. It then explains how the general theory works and presents Thurston's original proof of the Nielsen–Thurston classification. In particular, it considers the Teichmüller space and the measured foliation space. The chapter also discusses measured foliations on a pair of pants, global coordinates for measured foliation space, the Brouwer fixed point theorem, the Thurston compactification for the torus, and Markov partitions. Finally, it evaluates other approaches to proving the Nielsen–Thurston classification, including the use of geodesic laminations.
Keywords: homeomorphism, Nielsen–Thurston classification, simple closed curve, train track, Teichmüller space, measured foliation space, measured foliations, Thurston compactification, Markov partitions, geodesic laminations
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