Memoirs of the American Mathematical Society 2006; 141 pp; softcover Volume: 179 ISBN10: 0821838245 ISBN13: 9780821838242 List Price: US$72 Individual Members: US$43.20 Institutional Members: US$57.60 Order Code: MEMO/179/844
 We introduce a geometric mechanism for diffusion in a priori unstable nearly integrable dynamical systems. It is based on the observation that resonances, besides destroying the primary KAM tori, create secondary tori and tori of lower dimension. We argue that these objects created by resonances can be incorporated in transition chains taking the place of the destroyed primary KAM tori. We establish rigorously the existence of this mechanism in a simple model that has been studied before. The main technique is to develop a toolkit to study, in a unified way, tori of different topologies and their invariant manifolds, their intersections as well as shadowing properties of these biasymptotic orbits. This toolkit is based on extending and unifying standard techniques. A new tool used here is the scattering map of normally hyperbolic invariant manifolds. The model considered is a oneparameter family, which for \(\varepsilon = 0\) is an integrable system. We give a small number of explicit conditions the jet of order \(3\) of the family that, if verified imply diffusion. The conditions are just that some explicitely constructed functionals do not vanish identically or have nondegenerate critical points, etc. An attractive feature of the mechanism is that the transition chains are shorter in the places where the heuristic intuition and numerical experimentation suggests that the diffusion is strongest. Table of Contents  Introduction
 Heuristic discussion of the mechanism
 A simple model
 Statement of rigorous results
 Notation and definitions, resonances
 Geometric features of the unperturbed problem
 Persistence of the normally hyperbolic invariant manifold and its stable and unstable manifolds
 The dynamics in \(\tilde \Lambda_{\varepsilon}\)
 The scattering map
 Existence of transition chains
 Orbits shadowing the transition chains and proof of Theorem 4.1
 Conclusions and remarks
 An example
 Acknowledgments
 Bibliography
