Project Explicit minimizing sequences for Bartnik's mass functional

Basic data

Explicit minimizing sequences for Bartnik's mass functional
01/10/2017 to 30/09/2019
Abstract / short description:
This project deals with questions related to the de nition and computation of the "mass" of a gravitating object such as a star, a galaxy, or a black hole. While defining
and computing the mass of an object is straightforward in Newton's classical theory of
gravity, it has proven elusive in Einstein's general theory of relativity. In 1968, Arnowitt--
Deser--Misner succeeded in defining a notion of mass for an "isolated" object (i.e. an
object not gravitationally interacting with any other objects), but we still do not know
how to properly capture the mass of an object that is not isolated.
Many suggestions have been made, e.g. by Hawking. They are called quasi-local (QL)
masses, in contrast to the total mass assigned to an isolated object. While certainly
mathematically very useful (e.g. for proving "Penrose-style" inequalities relating physical
and geometric properties of black holes), most QL masses are in conflict with physical
intuition: Hawking's QL mass, e.g., will be negative in almost all cases!

In 1989, Bartnik de ned a QL mass that satis es all physical criteria (as listed by
Christodoulou--Yau). However, it is not known whether Bartnik's mass is indeed "computable",
meaning that one can explicitly or approximately compute it for many examples
of non-isolated objects.

Associated with this are two famous conjectures by Bartnik that will be investigated in this project.
We will do so by explicitly constructing sequences of "asymptotically flat" Riemannian
3-manifolds with certain delicate features, generalizing work by Mantoulidis--Schoen and
Cabrera Pacheco--Miao. They will be used to test Bartnik's conjecture and to investigate
stability of the seminal (generalized) Penrose inequality in geometrically special situations.
quasi-local mass
Bartnik capacity
minimizing sequences
explicit construction



Department of Mathematics
Faculty of Science

Local organizational units

Department of Mathematics
Faculty of Science
University of Tübingen


Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany

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