Mass Estimates, Conformal Techniques, and Singularities in General Relativity
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In general relativity, the Riemannian Penrose inequality (RPI) provides a lower bound for the ADM mass of an asymptotically flat manifold of nonnegative scalar curvature in terms of the area of the outermost minimal surface, if one exists. In physical terms, an equivalent statement is that the total mass of an asymptotically flat spacetime admitting a time-symmetric spacelike slice is at least the mass of any black holes that are present, assuming nonnegative energy density. The main goal of this thesis is to deduce geometric lower bounds for the ADM mass of manifolds to which neither the RPI nor the famous positive mass theorem (PMT) apply. This is the case, for instance, for manifolds that contain metric singularities or have boundary components that are not minimal surfaces.
The fundamental technique is the use of conformal deformations of a given Riemannian metric to arrive at a new Riemannian manifold to which either the PMT or RPI applies. Along the way we are led to consider the geometry of certain types non-smooth metrics. We prove a result regarding the local structure of area-minimizing hypersurfaces with respect such metrics using geometric measure theory.
One application is to the theory of ``zero area singularities,'' a type of singularity that generalizes the degenerate behavior of the Schwarzschild metric of negative mass. Another application deals with constructing and understanding some new invariants of the harmonic conformal class of an asymptotically flat metric.
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