On surfaces with prescribed shape operator
The problem of immersing a simply connected surface with a prescribed shape operator is discussed. I show that, aside from some special degenerate cases, such as when the shape operator can be realized by a surface with one family of principal curves being geodesic, the space of such realizations is a convex set in an affine space of dimension at most 3. The cases where this maximum dimension of realizability is achieved are analyzed and it is found that there are two such families of shape operators, one depending essentially on three arbitrary functions of one variable and another depending essentially on two arbitrary functions of one variable. The space of realizations is discussed in each case, along with some of their remarkable geometric properties. Several explicit examples are constructed.
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Phillip Griffiths Professor of Mathematics
My research concerns problems in the geometric theory of partial differential equations. More specifically, I work on conservation laws for PDE, Finsler geometry, projective geometry, and Riemannian geometry, including calibrations and the theory of holonomy. Much of my work involves or develops techniques for studying systems of partial differential equations that arise in geometric problems. Because of their built-in invariance properties, these systems often have specia