On degenerate secant and tangential varieties and local differential geometry Academic Article uri icon


  • We study the local differential geometry of varieties $X^nsubset Bbb CBbb P^{n+a}$ with degenerate secant and tangential varieties. We show that the second fundamental form of a smooth variety with degenerate tangential variety is subject to certain rank restrictions. The rank restrictions imply a slightly refined version of Zak's theorem on linear normality and a short proof of the Zak-Fantecchi theorem on the superadditivity of multisecant defects. We show there is a vector bundle defined over general points of $TX$ whose fibers carry the structure of a Clifford algebra. This structure implies additional restrictions of the size of the secant defect. The Clifford algebra structure, combined with further local computations, yields a new proof of Zak's theorem on Severi varieties that is substantially shorter than the original. We also prove local and global results on the dimension of the Gauss image of degenerate tangential varieties, refining the results in [GH].

published proceedings

  • Duke Mathematical Journal

author list (cited authors)

  • Landsberg, J. M.

citation count

  • 15

complete list of authors

  • Landsberg, JM

publication date

  • December 1996