Euclidean triangles have no hot spots. (English) Zbl 1444.35119

Ann. Math. (2) 191, No. 1, 167-211 (2020); erratum ibid. 195, No. 1, 337-362 (2022).
The authors completely prove the hot spots conjecture for Euclidean triangles, that is, they show that any eigenfunction associated with the second (i.e., smallest nontrivial) eigenvalue of the Neumann Laplacian on a Euclidean triangle \(T\subset\mathbb{R}^2\) has no critical points in the interior of \(T\). The conjecture had been the subject of a polymath project and had only been proved for particular classes of triangles (see [B. Siudeja, Math. Z. 280, 783–806 (2015; Zbl 1335.35164)]).
The principal statement here (Theorem 1.1) is somewhat stronger: excluding the vertices, any second eigenfunction can have at most one critical point, which necessarily lies on a side of \(T\) and, in this case, the critical point is a nondegenerate critical point with Morse index one.
The proof is entirely analytic, no probabilistic arguments are used. The idea behind the proof is quite natural and elegant, although the details are relatively involved. The strategy consists of considering, for each given triangle \(T_0\), a family of triangles \(T_t\) joining \(T_0\) to a right isosceles triangle \(T_1\), where the second eigenfunction is known explicitly, and studying how critical points of the eigenfunction of \(T_t\) could disappear as \(t \to 1\).


35P05 General topics in linear spectral theory for PDEs
35B38 Critical points of functionals in context of PDEs (e.g., energy functionals)
35J05 Laplace operator, Helmholtz equation (reduced wave equation), Poisson equation
35J25 Boundary value problems for second-order elliptic equations
58J50 Spectral problems; spectral geometry; scattering theory on manifolds


Zbl 1335.35164
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