**73**

votes

**16**answers

5k views

### Does Physics need non-analytic smooth functions?

Observing the behaviour of a few physicists "in nature", I had the impression that among the mathematical tools they use a lot (along with possibly much more sofisticated maths, of course), there is ...

**61**

votes

**8**answers

7k views

### What do heat kernels have to do with the Riemann-Roch theorem and the Gauss-Bonnet theorem?

I know the following facts. (Don't assume I know much more than the following facts.)
The Atiyah-Singer index theorem generalizes both the Riemann-Roch theorem and the Gauss-Bonnet theorem.
The ...

**52**

votes

**12**answers

4k views

### Counterexamples in PDE

Let us compile a list of counterexamples in PDE, similar in spirit to the books Counterexamples in topology and Counterexamples in analysis. Eventually I plan to type up the examples with their ...

**46**

votes

**9**answers

7k views

### Why can't there be a general theory of nonlinear PDE?

Lawrence Evans wrote in discussing the work of Lions fils that
there is in truth no central core
theory of nonlinear partial
differential equations, nor can there
be. The sources of partial
...

**32**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Recent fundamental new directions in PDEs

My main interests are in modern geometry/topology, algebra and mathematical physics. I observe that there is a raising communication, language and social barrier between this community and the ...

**29**

votes

**7**answers

5k views

### What is the symbol of a differential operator?

I find Wikipedia's discussion of symbols of differential operators a bit impenetrable, and Google doesn't seem to turn up useful links, so I'm hoping someone can point me to a more pedantic ...

**29**

votes

**5**answers

3k views

### Which nonlinear PDEs are of interest to algebraic geometers and why?

Motivation
I have recently started thinking about the interrelations among algebraic geometry and nonlinear PDEs. It is well known that the methods and ideas of algebraic geometry have lead to a ...

**28**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### How to define a differential form on a fractal?

It is well known how to construct a Laplacian on a fractal using the Dirichlet forms (see e.g.
the survey article by Strichartz). This implies, in particular, that a fractal can be "heated", i.e. one ...

**28**

votes

**1**answer

2k views

### Unconditional nonexistence for the heat equation with rapidly growing data?

Consider the initial value problem
$$ \partial_t u = \partial_{xx} u$$
$$ u(0,x) = u_0(x)$$
for the heat equation in one dimension, where $u_0: {\bf R} \to {\bf R}$ is a smooth initial datum and $u: ...

**27**

votes

**8**answers

3k views

### Motivation for and history of pseudo-differential operators

Suppose you start from partial differential equations and functional analysis (on $\mathbb R^n$ and on real manifolds). Which prominent example problems lead you to work with pseudo-differential ...

**25**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### Why is symplectic geometry so important in modern PDE ?

First, we recall that symplectic manifold is a smooth manifold, $M$, equipped with a closed nondegenerate differential 2-form, $\omega$, called the symplectic form. The study of symplectic manifolds ...

**24**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### Which differential equations allow for a variational formulation?

Many ODE's and PDE's arising in nature have a variational formulation. An example of what I mean is the following. Classical motions are solutions $q(t)$ to Lagrange's equation
$$
...

**23**

votes

**3**answers

983 views

### “Wild” solutions of the heat equation: how to graph them?

It has long been known that the Cauchy initial-value problem for the
classical heat equation on $\mathbb{R}$ (or $\mathbb{R}^n$) doesn't
have unique solutions, without additional assumptions. In ...

**22**

votes

**5**answers

3k views

### Is there a mathematically precise definition of turbulence for solutions of Navier-Stokes?

Given a solution $S$ of the Navier-Stokes equations, is there a way to make mathematically precise a statement like: "$S$ is turbulent in the spacetime region $U$"?
And if such a definition exists, ...

**21**

votes

**18**answers

2k views

### PDEs as a tool in other domains in mathematics

According to the large number of paper cited in MathSciNet database, Partial Differential Equations (PDEs) is an important topic of its own. Needless to say, it is an extremely useful tool for natural ...

**20**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Simulating Turing machines with {O,P}DEs.

Qiaochu Yuan in his answer to this question recalls a blog post (specifically, comment 16 therein) by Terry Tao:
For instance, one cannot hope to find an algorithm to determine the existence of ...

**20**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Does Ricci flow with surgery come from sections of a smooth Riemannian manifold?

More precisely, is Ricci flow with surgery on a 3-dimensional Riemannian manifold M given by the "constant-time" sections of some canonical smooth 4-dimensional Riemannian manifold?
There would be a ...

**20**

votes

**1**answer

961 views

### What goes wrong for the Sobolev embeddings at $k=n/p$?

For $u\in W^{k,p}(U)$, where $U\subseteq\mathbb{R}^n$ is open and bounded with $C^1$-boundary, we have the celebrated Sobolev inequalities:
If $k < n/p$ then $u\in L^q(U)$ for $q$ satisfying ...

**19**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### Convergence of finite element method: counterexamples

There are many known results proving convergence of finite element method for elliptic problems under certain assumptions on underlying mesh [e.g., Braess,2007]. Which of these common assumptions are ...

**19**

votes

**4**answers

863 views

### What is the relationship between various things called holonomic?

The following things are all called holonomic or holonomy:
A holonomic constraint on a physical system is one where the constraint gives a relationship between coordinates that doesn't involve the ...

**18**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### H-principle and PDE's

According to Wikipedia: "In mathematics, the homotopy principle (or h-principle) is a very general way to solve partial differential equations (PDEs), and more generally partial differential relations ...

**18**

votes

**4**answers

789 views

### When to use more exciting function spaces than ordinary Sobolev spaces?

In which kinds of PDEs are the more interesting function spaces required? I am thinking of spaces such as Besov and Triebel spaces, and their weighted versions.
For example, Sobolev spaces ...

**18**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Why don't existence and uniqueness for the Boltzmann equation imply the same for Navier-Stokes?

As I understand it, Lions and DiPerna demonstrated existence and uniqueness for the Boltzmann equation. Moreover, this paper claims that
Appropriately scaled families of
DiPerna–Lions ...

**18**

votes

**1**answer

2k views

### Jet bundles and partial differential operators

A geometric way of looking at differential equations
In the literature for the h-principle (for example Gromov's Partial differential relations or Eliashberg and Mishachev's Introduction to the ...

**18**

votes

**1**answer

777 views

### Why is there a connection between enumerative geometry and nonlinear waves?

I'm not 100% sure that this question is appropriate for this site. If it's not, please tell me and I'll delete it.
Recently I encountered in a class the fact that there is a generating function of ...

**17**

votes

**6**answers

3k views

### Square roots of the Laplace operator

In several places in the literature (e.g. this paper of Caffarelli and Silvestre), I've seen an integral formula for fractional Laplacians. I'd like to understand it. In this question, I'll stick to ...

**17**

votes

**1**answer

754 views

### The origin of Discrete `Liouville's theorem'

It is known that discrete Liouville's theorem for harmonic functions on $\mathbb{Z}^2$ was proved by Heilbronn (On discrete harmonic functions. - Proc. Camb. Philos. Soc. , 1949, 45, 194-206).
If ...

**16**

votes

**10**answers

3k views

### Open problems in PDEs, dynamical systems, mathematical physics

(This question might not be appropriate for this site. If so, I apologize in advance. I would have posted to mathstack, but I'm looking for advice from active researchers.)
I am an undergrad in math ...

**16**

votes

**8**answers

2k views

### Applications of PDE in mathematical subjects other than geometry & topology

Partial differential equations have been used to establish fundamental results in mathematics such as the uniformization theorem, Hodge-deRham theory, the Nash embedding theorem, the Calabi-Yau ...

**16**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### Classification of PDE

Recently I have been attending a course on PDE's. I was totally ignorant of the subject and wasn't that motivated to be honest. But I was intrigued and felt I had to take the course seriously both for ...

**16**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### History of fundamental solutions

I have a few questions on the history of PDE.
Who first wrote down the formula for the solution of the Cauchy problem for the heat equation involving the heat kernel? I have seen it called Poisson's ...

**15**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### Why is the harmonic oscillator so important? (pure viewpoint sought). How to motivate its role in Getzler's work on Atiyah-Singer?

I'm in the process of understanding the heat equation proof of the Atiyah-Singer Index Theorem for Dirac Operators on a spin manifold using Getzler scaling. I'm attending a masters-level course on it ...

**15**

votes

**5**answers

1k views

### “Physical” construction of nonconstant meromorphic functions on compact Riemann surfaces?

Miranda's book on Riemann surfaces ignores the analytical details of proving that compact Riemann surfaces admit nonconstant meromorphic functions, preferring instead to work out the algebraic ...

**15**

votes

**1**answer

481 views

### The Riemann zeros and the heat equation

The Riemann xi function $\Xi(x)$ is defined, with $s=1/2+ix$, as
$$
\Xi(x)=\frac12 s(s-1)\pi^{-s/2}\Gamma(s/2)\zeta(s)=2\int_0^\infty \Phi(u)\cos(ux) \, du,
$$
where $\Phi(u)$ is defined as
$$
...

**14**

votes

**2**answers

610 views

### Vanishing eigenvalues of Jacobian

Let $f: \mathbb{R^2}\to \mathbb{R^2}$ be a Schwartz function. If the eigenvalues of $Df$ vanish everywhere, must $f$ be constant? Does an analogous result hold when we replace $2$ by $n$?
Any ...

**14**

votes

**5**answers

1k views

### Book Recommendation - PDE's for geometricians / topologists

I am looking for recommendations for a book on partial differential equations, which is not written for applied mathematicians but rather focused on geometry and applications in topology, as well as ...

**14**

votes

**2**answers

448 views

### Is there a spectral theory approach to non-explicit Plancherel-type theorems?

Teaching graduate analysis has inspired me to think about the completeness theorem for Fourier series and the more difficult Plancherel theorem for the Fourier transform on $\mathbb{R}$. There are ...

**13**

votes

**6**answers

3k views

### PDE on manifolds

I am currently in a PDE course where one of the requirements is to present a paper in PDE. I am wondering if anyone can suggest an early (read foundational, first introductory) paper talking about PDE ...

**13**

votes

**3**answers

3k views

### A Hölder continuous function which does not belong to any Sobolev space

I'm seeking a function which is Hölder continuous but does not belong to any Sobolev space.
Question: More precisely, I'm searching for a function $u$ which is in $C^{0,\gamma}(\Omega)$ for $\gamma ...

**13**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### Epsilon regularity: what does it say and where does it come from?

The $\varepsilon$-regularity phenomenon shows up in several different contexts. I try to describe it focussing on the harmonic map situation, but I really would like to understand the situation in ...

**13**

votes

**1**answer

446 views

### Are isospectral manifolds necessarily homeomorphic?

It's known that there are pairs of closed Riemannian manifolds which are isospectral but not isometric.
Is it known if there are closed Riemannian manifolds which are isospectral but not ...

**13**

votes

**6**answers

1k views

### Can the “physical argument” for the existence of a solution to Dirichlet's problem be made into an actual proof?

Caveat: I don't really know anything about PDEs, so this question might not make sense.
In complex analysis class we've been learning about the solution to Dirichlet's problem for the Laplace ...

**13**

votes

**1**answer

736 views

### Is there a Seiberg-Witten version of Donaldson-Thomas theory?

Donaldson invariants are a count of instantons (the solutions to a particular elliptic PDE) on 4-manifolds. One thing which makes the theory difficult is a lack of compactness for the moduli spaces of ...

**13**

votes

**1**answer

695 views

### Hearing the 17 planar symmetry groups

Though I'm sure it's really hard to work out for myself, does anyone know a reference for the spectra of the Laplacian on the 17 flat compact orbifolds that underlie the 17 planar symmetry groups.
...

**12**

votes

**3**answers

809 views

### Poincare lemma for non-smooth differentiable forms

The Poincare lemma is almost always formulated for differential forms with smooth coefficients (or sometimes for currents that have distributional coefficients). I would like to have it for ...

**12**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### Does elliptic regularity guarantee analytic solutions?

Let $D$ be an elliptic operator on $\mathbb{R}^n$ with real analytic coefficients. Must its solutions also be real analytic? If not, are there any helpful supplementary assumptions? Standard ...

**12**

votes

**1**answer

495 views

### Symbols of elliptic operators

First let me state the problem, then I'll explain its origin and finally, I'll ask the main question..
Problem S. Fix a positive integer $n$. Find all the pairs $(V, S)$, whith the following ...

**12**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Image of the trace operator

It is well-known that we have the trace theorem for Sobolev spaces. Let $\Omega$ be an open domain with smooth boundary, we know that the map
$$ T: C^1(\bar\Omega) \to C^1(\partial\Omega) \subset ...

**12**

votes

**2**answers

564 views

### Applications of pseudodifferential operators to PDE

I am planning to build a PDE course centred around pseudodifferential operators. I know some important applications of pseudodifferential operators to PDEs, but I don't know enough to get the whole ...

**12**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Relationship between Green's function and geodesic distance?

I am interested in showing that a certain Green's function can be used to approximate the distance function on a Riemannian manifold in the following sense. Let $(M,g)$ be a Riemannian manifold and ...