On tame dynamical systems
A dynamical version of the Bourgain-Fremlin-Talagrand dichotomy shows that the enveloping semigroup of a dynamical system is either very large and contains a topological copy of β𝓝, or it is a "tame" topological space whose topology is determined by the convergence of sequences. In the latter case we say that the dynamical system is tame. We show that (i) a metric distal minimal system is tame iff it is equicontinuous, (ii) for an abelian acting group a tame metric minimal system is PI (hence a weakly mixing minimal system is never tame), and (iii) a tame minimal cascade has zero topological entropy. We also show that for minimal distal-but-not-equicontinuous systems the canonical map from the enveloping operator semigroup onto the Ellis semigroup is never an isomorphism. This answers a long standing open question. We give a complete characterization of minimal systems whose enveloping semigroup is metrizable. In particular it follows that for an abelian acting group such a system is equicontinuous.