Thursday December 6th, 2018
Time: 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Title: The role of Energy in Regularity
Speaker: Max Engelstein, MIT
Location: Math Tower P-131
The calculus of variations asks us to minimize some energy and then describe the shape/properties of the minimizers. It is perhaps a surprising fact that minimizers to ``nice" energies are more regular than one, a priori, assumes. A useful tool for understanding this phenomenon is the Euler-Lagrange equation, which is a partial differential equation satisfied by the critical points of the energy.

However, as we teach our calculus students, not every critical point is a minimizer. In this talk we will discuss some techniques to distinguish the behavior of general critical points from that of minimizers. We will then outline how these techniques may be used to solve some central open problems in the field.

We will then turn the tables, and examine PDEs which look like they should be an Euler-Lagrange equation but for which there is no underlying energy. For some of these PDEs the solutions will regularize (as if there were an underlying energy) for others, pathological behavior can occur.