Regularity of interfaces in phase transitions via obstacle problems

Speaker: Alessio Figalli

Date: Fri, Feb 8, 2019

Location: PIMS, University of British Columbia

Conference: PIMS Distinguished Colloquium

Subject: Mathematics

Class: Scientific


The so-called Stefan problem describes the temperature distribution in a homogeneous medium undergoing a phase change, for example ice melting to water. An important goal is to describe the structure of the interface separating the two phases. In its stationary version, the Stefan problem can be reduced to the classical obstacle problem, which consists in finding the equilibrium position of an elastic membrane whose boundary is held fixed and which is constrained to lie above a given obstacle. The aim of this talk is to give a general overview of the classical theory of the obstacle problem, and then discuss recent developments on the structure of interfaces, both in the static and the parabolic settings.