Picture of the Week
Discovering the physics and chemistry of the cosmos is different to carrying out experiments in the lab. In the lab, samples can be tested, experiments can be repeated, and if anything looks odd, you can always look from another angle to see if it's just a trick of perspective. For astronomers, none of this is possible: the only information they have is in the light that reaches their telescopes. More...
A rose by any other name
20 May 2013
The picture represents a "finite energy foliation" of the 3-dimensional manifold S1 x S2 with its standard contact structure. Finite energy foliations are ways of filling 3-dimensional space with smooth surfaces that are solutions to a differential equation arising in string theory.
Such pictures can help mathematicians gain insight into problems in dynamical systems and in topology – for example, an important strand in research by Chris Wendl (UCL Mathematics) has been using finite energy foliations to try and answer the question, “how many different 4-dimensional shapes could this 3-dimensional shape be the boundary of?
One can use this particular picture to deduce that the answer is exactly one.
Credit: Chris Wendl (UCL Mathematics)
- This image can be reproduced freely providing the source is credited.
Page last modified on 20 may 13 09:37