We study fine details of spreading of reactive processes in multidimensional
inhomogeneous media. In the real world, one often observes a transition from one equilibrium (such as unburned areas in forest fires) to another (burned areas)to happen over short spatial as well as temporal distances. We demonstrate that this phenomenon also occurs in one of the simplest models of reactive processes, reaction-diffusion equations with ignition reaction functions, under very general hypotheses.
Specifically, in up to three spatial dimensions, the width (both in space and time) of the zone where the reaction occurs turns out to remain uniformly bounded in time for fairly general classes of initial data. This bound even becomes independent of the initial data and of the reaction function after an initial time interval. Such results have recently been obtained in one dimension, in which one can even completely characterize the long term dynamics of general solutions to the equation, but are new in dimensions two and three. An indication of the added difficulties is the fact that three dimensions turns out to indeed be the borderline case, as the bounded-width result is in fact false for general inhomogeneous media in four and more dimensions.
I will discuss a simple-looking isoperimetric problem for curves in the plane where length is measured with respect to a degenerate metric. One motivation for the study is that geodesics for this problem, appropriately parametrized, lead to traveling waves associated with a Hamiltonian system based on a bi-stable potential. This is joint work with Stan Alama, Lia Bronsard, Andres Contreras and Jiri Dadok.
In this expository talk we will discuss aspects of spectral theory of the complex Laplacian, revolving around
the notion of positivity. We will discuss geometric/potential theoretic characterizations
for positivity of the complex Neumann Laplacian and explain some applications of the theory in complex geometry.
Of concern to quantum chemists and solid state physicists is the approximate numerical computation of the ground state wave function, and the ground state energy and density for molecular and other quantum mechanical systems. Since the number of molecules in bulk matter is of the order of 10e26 , direct computation is too cumbersome or impossible in many situations. In 1927, L. Thomas and E. Fermi proposed replacing the ground state wave function by the ground state density, which is a function of only three variables. Independently, each found an approximate expansion for the energy associated with a density. (The wave function uniquely determines the density, but not conversely.)
A computationally better approximate expansion was found in the 1960’s by W. Kohn and his collaborators; for this work Kohn got the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1998. A successful attempt to put Thomas-Fermi theory into a rigorous mathematical framework was begun in the 1970’s by E. Lieb and B. Simon and was continued and expanded by Ph. Benilan, H. Brezis and others. Very little rigorous mathematics supporting Kohn density functional theory is known. In this talk I will present a survey of rigorous Thomas-Fermi theory, including recent developments and open problems (in the calculus of variations and semilinear elliptic systems).
In this talk, I will discuss a simplified Ericksen-Leslie system modeling
the hydrodynamics of nematic liquid crystals, that is coupling between Navier-Stokes equations and harmonic map heat flows. I will describe some existence results of global weak solutions in dimensions two and three, and a finite time singularity result in dimension three. This is based on some joint works with Tao Huang, Junyu Lin, Fanghua Lin, and Chun Lin.