The weak null condition and the p-weighted energy method

16 May 2019
Joe Keir

The Einstein equations in wave coordinates are an example of a system 
which does not obey the "null condition". This leads to many 
difficulties, most famously when attempting to prove global existence, 
otherwise known as the "nonlinear stability of Minkowski space". 
Previous approaches to overcoming these problems suffer from a lack of 
generalisability - among other things, they make the a priori assumption 
that the space is approximately scale-invariant. Given the current 
interest in studying the stability of black holes and other related 
problems, removing this assumption is of great importance.

The p-weighted energy method of Dafermos and Rodnianski promises to 
overcome this difficulty by providing a flexible and robust tool to 
prove decay. However, so far it has mainly been used to treat linear 
equations. In this talk I will explain how to modify this method so that 
it can be applied to nonlinear systems which only obey the "weak null 
condition" - a large class of systems that includes, as a special case, 
the Einstein equations. This involves combining the p-weighted energy 
method with many of the geometric methods originally used by 
Christodoulou and Klainerman. Among other things, this allows us to 
enlarge the class of wave equations which are known to admit small-data 
global solutions, it gives a new proof of the stability of Minkowski 
space, and it also yields detailed asymptotics. In particular, in some 
situations we can understand the geometric origin of the slow decay 
towards null infinity exhibited by some of these systems: it is due to 
the formation of "shocks at infinity".

  • PDE CDT Lunchtime Seminar