From Soap Bubbles to the Poincare Conjecture

School of Mathematics Colloquium
Thursday, March 18, 2010 - 11:00am for 1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Skiles 269
Frank Morgan – Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Williams College
John McCuan

Please Note: Light refreshments will be available in Room 236 at 10:30 am.

A single round soap bubble provides the least-area way to enclose a given volume. How does the solution change if space is given some density like r^2 or e^{-r^2} that weights both area and volume? There has been much recent progress by undergraduates. Such densities appear prominently in Perelman's paper proving the Poincare Conjecture. No prerequisites, undergraduates welcome.