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  • Print publication year: 2012
  • Online publication date: October 2012

Preface

Summary

Everyone talks about rock these days;

the problem is they forget about the roll.

Keith Richards

The theory of sets of finite perimeter provides, in the broader framework of Geometric Measure Theory (hereafter referred to as GMT), a particularly well-suited framework for studying the existence, symmetry, regularity, and structure of singularities of minimizers in those geometric variational problems in which surface area is minimized under a volume constraint. Isoperimetric-type problems constitute one of the oldest and more attractive areas of the Calculus of Variations, with a long and beautiful history, and a large number of still open problems and current research. The first aim of this book is to provide a pedagogical introduction to this subject, ranging from the foundations of the theory, to some of the most deep and beautiful results in the field, thus providing a complete background for research activity. We shall cover topics like the Euclidean isoperimetric problem, the description of geometric properties of equilibrium shapes for liquid drops and crystals, the regularity up to a singular set of codimension at least 8 for area minimizing boundaries, and, probably for the first time in book form, the theory of minimizing clusters developed (in a more sophisticated framework) by Almgren in his AMS Memoir [Alm76].

Ideas and techniques from GMT are of crucial importance also in the study of other variational problems (both of parametric and non-parametric character), as well as of partial differential equations.

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