Andras Vasy


Stanford University


Thursday, January 17, 2019 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm



RH 306

In this talk, based on joint work with Plamen Stefanov and Gunther Uhlmann, I discuss the boundary rigidity problem on manifolds with boundary (for instance, a domain in Euclidean space with a perturbed metric), i.e. determining a Riemannian metric from the restriction of its distance  function to the boundary. This corresponds to travel time tomography, i.e. finding the Riemannian metric from the time it takes for solutions of the corresponding wave equation to travel between boundary points. A version of this relates to finding the speed of seismic waves inside the Earth from travel time data, which in turn permits a study of the structure of the inside of the Earth.

This non-linear problem in turn builds on the geodesic X-ray transform on such a Riemannian manifold with boundary. The geodesic X-ray transform on functions associates to a function its integral along geodesic curves, so for instance in domains in Euclidean space along straight lines. The X-ray transform on symmetric tensors is similar, but one integrates the tensor contracted with the tangent vector of the geodesics. I will explain how, under suitable convexity assumptions, one can invert the geodesic X-ray transform on functions, i.e. determine the function from its X-ray transform, in a stable manner, as well as the analogous tensor result, and the connection to the full boundary rigidity problem.