Date of Thesis


Thesis Type

Honors Thesis (Bucknell Access Only)

Degree Type

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Pamela Gorkin


The goal of this paper is to contribute to the understanding of complex polynomials and Blaschke products, two very important function classes in mathematics. For a polynomial, $f,$ of degree $n,$ we study when it is possible to write $f$ as a composition $f=g\circ h$, where $g$ and $h$ are polynomials, each of degree less than $n.$ A polynomial is defined to be \emph{decomposable }if such an $h$ and $g$ exist, and a polynomial is said to be \emph{indecomposable} if no such $h$ and $g$ exist. We apply the results of Rickards in \cite{key-2}. We show that $$C_{n}=\{(z_{1},z_{2},...,z_{n})\in\mathbb{C}^{n}\,|\,(z-z_{1})(z-z_{2})...(z-z_{n})\,\mbox{is decomposable}\},$$ has measure $0$ when considered a subset of $\mathbb{R}^{2n}.$ Using this we prove the stronger result that $$D_{n}=\{(z_{1},z_{2},...,z_{n})\in\mathbb{C}^{n}\,|\,\mbox{There exists\,}a\in\mathbb{C}\,\,\mbox{with}\,\,(z-z_{1})(z-z_{2})...(z-z_{n})(z-a)\,\mbox{decomposable}\},$$ also has measure zero when considered a subset of $\mathbb{R}^{2n}.$ We show that for any polynomial $p$, there exists an $a\in\mathbb{C}$ such that $p(z)(z-a)$ is indecomposable, and we also examine the case of $D_{5}$ in detail. The main work of this paper studies finite Blaschke products, analytic functions on $\overline{\mathbb{D}}$ that map $\partial\mathbb{D}$ to $\partial\mathbb{D}.$ In analogy with polynomials, we discuss when a degree $n$ Blaschke product, $B,$ can be written as a composition $C\circ D$, where $C$ and $D$ are finite Blaschke products, each of degree less than $n.$ Decomposable and indecomposable are defined analogously. Our main results are divided into two sections. First, we equate a condition on the zeros of the Blaschke product with the existence of a decomposition where the right-hand factor, $D,$ has degree $2.$ We also equate decomposability of a Blaschke product, $B,$ with the existence of a Poncelet curve, whose foci are a subset of the zeros of $B,$ such that the Poncelet curve satisfies certain tangency conditions. This result is hard to apply in general, but has a very nice geometric interpretation when we desire a composition where the right-hand factor is degree 2 or 3. Our second section of finite Blaschke product results builds off of the work of Cowen in \cite{key-3}. For a finite Blaschke product $B,$ Cowen defines the so-called monodromy group, $G_{B},$ of the finite Blaschke product. He then equates the decomposability of a finite Blaschke product, $B,$ with the existence of a nontrivial partition, $\mathcal{P},$ of the branches of $B^{-1}(z),$ such that $G_{B}$ respects $\mathcal{P}$. We present an in-depth analysis of how to calculate $G_{B}$, extending Cowen's description. These methods allow us to equate the existence of a decomposition where the left-hand factor has degree 2, with a simple condition on the critical points of the Blaschke product. In addition we are able to put a condition of the structure of $G_{B}$ for any decomposable Blaschke product satisfying certain normalization conditions. The final section of this paper discusses how one can put the results of the paper into practice to determine, if a particular Blaschke product is decomposable. We compare three major algorithms. The first is a brute force technique where one searches through the zero set of $B$ for subsets which could be the zero set of $D$, exhaustively searching for a successful decomposition $B(z)=C(D(z)).$ The second algorithm involves simply examining the cardinality of the image, under $B,$ of the set of critical points of $B.$ For a degree $n$ Blaschke product, $B,$ if this cardinality is greater than $\frac{n}{2}$, the Blaschke product is indecomposable. The final algorithm attempts to apply the geometric interpretation of decomposability given by our theorem concerning the existence of a particular Poncelet curve. The final two algorithms can be implemented easily with the use of an HTML