Preface Parts of this memoir are based on my Ph.D. thesis written at Princeton Uni- versity under the direction of professor Christopher Skinner. I am deeply indebted to professor Skinner for sharing numerous mathematical ideas with me, many of which are used in this work. I also thank him for many discussions of the math- ematics treated in this memoir. It is also my great pleasure to thank B. Conrad, S. Dasgupta, A. Jorza, C. Sorensen for conversations and correspondences that have been very helpful. Moreover, I thank the referee for remarks concerning the improvement of the exposition. Martin Luu vii
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