Professor Cathleen Morawetz
COURANT INSTITUTE, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY
From Collisionless Shocks to Integrable Systems
Collisionless shocks have been studied twice. First in the 1950s they were proposed as a mechanism for heating up a controlled nuclear fusion machine for creating energy. But their mathematical structure was an open question. Now such a shock has been observed by Voyager 2 in its travels through space. The lecture will first describe how collisionless shocks occur in the solar system .Then we will examine in a simple model what we mean mathematically by a collisionless shock and why its structure is a puzzle. Finally we look at how these investigations led to the study of completely integrable systems of partial differential equations.