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  1. Abstract We study the intersection of the Torelli locus with the Newton polygon stratification of the modulo $p$ reduction of certain Shimura varieties. We develop a clutching method to show that the intersection of the open Torelli locus with some Newton polygon strata is non-empty. This allows us to give a positive answer, under some compatibility conditions, to a question of Oort about smooth curves in characteristic $p$ whose Newton polygons are an amalgamate sum. As an application, we produce infinitely many new examples of Newton polygons that occur for smooth curves that are cyclic covers of the projective line.more »Most of these arise in inductive systems that demonstrate unlikely intersections of the open Torelli locus with the Newton polygon stratification in Siegel modular varieties. In addition, for the 20 special Shimura varieties found in Moonen’s work, we prove that all Newton polygon strata intersect the open Torelli locus (if $p>>0$ in the supersingular cases).« less
  2. In this paper, we make partial progress on a function field version of the dynamical uniform boundedness conjecture for certain one-dimensional families ${\mathcal{F}}$ of polynomial maps, such as the family $f_{c}(x)=x^{m}+c$ , where $m\geq 2$ . We do this by making use of the dynatomic modular curves $Y_{1}(n)$ (respectively $Y_{0}(n)$ ) which parametrize maps $f$ in ${\mathcal{F}}$ together with a point (respectively orbit) of period $n$ for $f$ . The key point in our strategy is to study the set of primes $p$ for which the reduction of $Y_{1}(n)$ modulo $p$ fails to be smooth or irreducible. Morton gave anmore »algorithm to construct, for each $n$ , a discriminant $D_{n}$ whose list of prime factors contains all the primes of bad reduction for $Y_{1}(n)$ . In this paper, we refine and strengthen Morton’s results. Specifically, we exhibit two criteria on a prime $p$ dividing $D_{n}$ : one guarantees that $p$ is in fact a prime of bad reduction for $Y_{1}(n)$ , yet this same criterion implies that $Y_{0}(n)$ is geometrically irreducible. The other guarantees that the reduction of $Y_{1}(n)$ modulo $p$ is actually smooth. As an application of the second criterion, we extend results of Morton, Flynn, Poonen, Schaefer, and Stoll by giving new examples of good reduction of $Y_{1}(n)$ for several primes dividing $D_{n}$ when $n=7,8,11$ , and $f_{c}(x)=x^{2}+c$ . The proofs involve a blend of arithmetic and complex dynamics, reduction theory for curves, ramification theory, and the combinatorics of the Mandelbrot set.« less