2005 Chern Lectures

Terence TaoThe 2005 Chern Lectures will be delivered by Terence Tao on November 7, 9, 10, and 17, 2005.

Department of Mathematics, University of California, Berkeley, presents

The 2005 Chern Lectures
Terence Tao
Professor of Mathematics
University of California, Los Angeles

Talk 1: Global regularity of wave maps
November 7, 60 Evans, 4:00-5:00pm

Wave maps are a natural time-dependent analogue of harmonic maps, which have been studied extensively by many analysts, topologists, and geometers (including Chern!). They also appear in general relativity. We shall describe some recent progress in the global regularity theory for such wave maps, which combines state-of-the-art harmonic analysis methods with geometric renormalization techniques to make the non-linear component of the wave map equation analytically tractable. One interesting feature in the large energy, negatively curved case is that the heat flow for the harmonic map equation must be used to renormalize the wave map equation.

Talk 2: Global solutions of the Maxwell-Klein-Gordon and Yang-Mills equations
November 9, 10 Evans, 4:00-5:00pm

The Maxwell-Klein-Gordon and Yang-Mills equations are the basic geometric equations for evolutions of connections in spacetime. Our understanding of their global behaviour (and in particular in their possible asymptotics or singularity formulation) lags behind that of the wave maps equation and simpler models such as the non-linear wave equation. Nevertheless, there has been some recent progress by Igor Rodnianksi and myself (for Maxwell-Klein-Gordon) and Jacob Sterbenz and Joachim Krieger (for Yang-Mills) in obtaining small data smooth solutions in six and higher dimensions; work is now in progress concerning the critical case of obtaining small energy smooth solutions in four dimensions. A key new tool is the introduction of covariant, scale-invariant Strichartz estimates which take into account the structure of the connection; this is combined with existing techniques such as frequency decomposition and the Coulomb gauge.

Talk 3: Higher-dimensional singularity removal for the Yang-Mills equation
November 10, 60 Evans, 4:00-5:00pm

Yang-Mills connections play an important role in the geometry of bundles, and also in integrable systems. In four and higher dimensions, singularities can form in these connections, even if the energy is finite and even after using gauge transformations to remove artificial co-ordinate singularities. In the critical four-dimensional case, a fundamental theorem of Uhlenbeck shows that only a finite number of isolated singularities (instantons) can occur, with each singularity absorbing a certain minimum amount of energy. In particular if the energy is sufficiently small then no singularities form. We shall discuss this result and the extension (by Gang Tian and myself) to higher dimensions, in which a monotonicity formula of Price and an iterative gauge averaging and gluing argument is used to establish regularity when the energy is small, and controls the curvature density on the singular set when the energy is large. In contrast with the time-dependent theory, the theory here is substantially more difficult in high dimensions than in the critical four-dimensional case.

Talk 4: Long arithmetic progressions in the primes
November 17, 60 Evans, 4:00-5:00pm

A famous and difficult theorem of Szemeredi asserts that every subset of the integers of positive density will contain arbitrarily long arithmetic progressions; this theorem has had four different proofs (graph-theoretic, ergodic, Fourier analytic, and hypergraph-theoretic), each of which has been enormously influential, important, and deep. It had been conjectured for some time that the same result held for the primes (which of course have zero density). I shall discuss recent work with Ben Green obtaining this conjecture, by viewing the primes as a subset of the almost primes (numbers with few prime factors) of positive relative density. The point is that the almost primes are much easier to control than the primes themselves, thanks to sieve theory techniques such as the recent work of Goldston and Yildirim. To "transfer" Szemeredi's theorem to this relative setting requires that one borrow techniques from all four known proofs of Szemeredi's theorem, and especially from the ergodic theory proof.

Reception in 1015 Evans Hall following the November 7 lecture.