Existence and uniqueness, regularity, boundary conditions, linear and non-linear operators, stability, soliton theory, integrable PDEs, conservation laws, qualitative dynamics.

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73
votes
16answers
4k 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 ...
60
votes
8answers
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 ...
51
votes
12answers
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 ...
45
votes
9answers
6k 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
2answers
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
8answers
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
5answers
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
5answers
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
1answer
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: ...
26
votes
8answers
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 ...
24
votes
5answers
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
3answers
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 $$ ...
22
votes
5answers
2k 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, ...
22
votes
3answers
940 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 ...
21
votes
18answers
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
2answers
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 ...
19
votes
3answers
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
2answers
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 ...
19
votes
4answers
855 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
5answers
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
1answer
896 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 ...
18
votes
1answer
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 ...
17
votes
4answers
752 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
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 ...
17
votes
1answer
741 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 ...
17
votes
1answer
510 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 ...
16
votes
4answers
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
3answers
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
8answers
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 ...
15
votes
5answers
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
1answer
464 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
10answers
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 ...
14
votes
2answers
572 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
3answers
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 ...
14
votes
2answers
442 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
6answers
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
3answers
2k 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
6answers
2k 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
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
5answers
990 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
433 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
6answers
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
1answer
702 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
1answer
691 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
3answers
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
1answer
472 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
1answer
560 views

Integrable solutions to an elliptic PDE on divergence form have a definite sign

Let $f\colon\mathbb{R}^n\to\mathbb{R}^n$ be a smooth, bounded vector field. Further, let $u\colon\mathbb{R}^n\to\mathbb{R}$ satisfy $$-\Delta u=\operatorname{div}(fu).$$ If $u\in L^1(\mathbb{R}^n)$, ...
12
votes
0answers
6k views

Otelbayev's approach to Navier-Stokes [closed]

Recent news post that Mukhtarbai Otelbayev from Eurasian National University has shown existence of strong solutions of the Navier-Stokes equation in the article "Existence of a strong solution of ...
11
votes
4answers
511 views

Einstein field equations in perspectives from PDE and functional analysis

The Einstein field equations have been subject of research in theoretical physics, and differential geometry, apparently with methods from classical analysis and geometry. In particular, solutions in ...
11
votes
3answers
711 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 ...