Southeast Geometry Seminar

SGS XX: Sunday, April 29, 2012
The Georga Institute of Technology

The Southeast Geometry Seminar (SGS) is a semiannual series of one day event sponsored by:

The organizers are: Vladimir Oliker (Emory), Mohammad Ghomi and John McCuan (Georgia Tech), Fernando Schwartz (UTK), Junfang Li (UAB), and Gilbert Weinstein (UAB).

9:00 AM - Morning Session - Room 005 Skiles Building

9:00 AM Jason Parsley (Wake Forest University)
The geometry of the Taylor problem in plasma physics

Abstract: Plasma injected into a toroidal container loses energy rapidly until it reaches a quasi-stable state while its helicity (an average linking number of its field lines) remains essentially constant. J.B. Taylor showed that by also fixing the flux of the field -- assumed divergence free and tangent to the boundary -- through a cross-sectional disk, the resulting minimal energy field well approximates experimental results. We consider the problem of Taylor on arbitrary subdomains in R^3. We show a solution always exists and investigate the role of geometry on the problem.

10:00 AM Meredith Casey (The Georga Institute of Technology)
Branched covers on contact manifolds

Abstract: Branched covers are a useful method of constructing and understanding 3-manifolds. But how can they be used to construct contact manifolds? What happens to contact structures under branched covering maps? We will discuss recent progress in the construction of contact structures via branched covers, emphasizing the search for universal transversal knots. Recall that a topological knot is called universal if all 3-manifolds can be obtained as a cover of the 3-sphere branched over that knot. Analogously one can ask if there is a transversal knot in the standard contact structure on S3 from which all contact 3-manifold can be obtained as a branched cover over this transverse knot. It is not known if such a transverse knot exists.

11:00 AM Jason Cantarella (University of Georgia)
Random Polygons in R^2 and R^3

Abstract: What does it mean to take a random closed polygon in space? What is the expected geometry of a random n-gon? This talk describes an attractive and natural measure on the space of length-2 closed n-gons which comes from a map originally constructed by Knutson and Haussmann from the manifold V_2(C^n)/SU(2) to the moduli space of length-2 closed n-gons in space up to the action of the Euclidean group E(3). This map pushes forward the standard Riemannian metric on the Stiefel manifold V_2(C^n) to a natural probability measure on polygon space. With respect to this probability measure, we can make a number of interesting explicit calculations for random polygons. For instance, the expected value of the radius of gyration of a random closed n-gon of length 2 in 3-space is 1/2n. This talk covers joint work with Tetsuo Deguchi (Ochanomizu University) and Clay Shonkwiler (UGA).

12:00 PM - Lunch

2:00 PM - Afternoon Session - Room 005 Skiles Building

2:00 PM Junfang Li ( University of Alabama at Birmingham)
A new mean curvature type of flow and its fully nonlinear version

Abstract: (Joint with Pengfei Guan) In this talk, we will present a new type of mean curvature flow. For any closed star-shaped smooth hypersurface, this flow exists for all time t>0 and exponentially converges to a round sphere. Moreover, we will show that all the quermassintegrals evolve monotonically along this flow. Consequently, we prove a class of isoperimetric type of inequalities including the classical isoperimetric inequality on star-shaped domains. We will also present a fully non-linear analogue of this flow. More specifically, we study a fully non-linear parabolic equation of a function on the standard sphere and discuss its long-time existence and exponential convergence. As applications, we recover the well-known Alexandrov-Fenchel inequalities on bounded convex domains in Euclidean space.

3:00 PM Kirk Lancaster (Wichita State University)
Boundary Behavior of PMC Surfaces: The Concus-Finn Conjecture

Abstract: Capillary surfaces are interesting geometric objects which turn out to be important in microgravity environments (e.g. in space) and in tiny devices (e.g. electronic, "lab on a chip"). This talk will focus on the mathematical theory of capillary surfaces in vertical cylinders and sketch the 2010 proof of the 40 year old "Concus-Finn conjecture." Related open questions will be mentioned.

4:00 PM - 4:45 PM Poster Session - TBA

5:00 PM - Public Lecture - Room 1116 Klaus Building

Jason Cantarella (University of Georgia)
The Square Peg Theorems or What does it mean to solve simultaneous equations?

Abstract: It's now been 101 years since Otto Toeplitz asked the simple question: Does every closed curve in the plane with no self-intersections contain four points which form the vertices of an inscribed square? This talk will be an introduction for a general audience to the various mathematical ideas which prove and generalize parts of the square peg theorem, complete with some good pictures and animations. The key idea for undergraduates is that the simple act of solving a system of two equations in two unknowns (something that everyone who took high-school math has probably done) is actually the jumping off point for a wonderful journey into modern mathematics. Click here for the poster for this event.

Thanks to an NSF grant, we have funds to support participants, particularly students and recent Ph.D. recipients. We encourage women and minorities to apply. To apply please write to us.

We have a poster session. Please contact us if you would like to present a poster.

Authored by:

Junfang Li and Gilbert Weinstein
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