The course aims at providing a first introductory and yet significant knowledge on the problems and the methods of the Calculus of Variations.
Basic knowledge of Analysis and Measure Theory, and Sobolev Spaces
Course unit content
The course is focused on some classical topics of the Calculus of Variations. It is divided in two parts. The first one deals with a thorough study of firts and second order necessary and sufficient minimality conditions for one-dimensional problems. Among the various examples, a complete treatment of the brachistochrone problem will be given. The second part is devoted to the DIrect Methods of the Calculus of Variations: after proving a general existence theorem for integral functionals in N-dimensions, we will expose De Giorgi's regularity theory.
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No specific reference textbooks. The topics of the course are chosen by the instructor and may be found in several different classical books on the Calculus of Variations.
The course will consist in lectures delivered at the blackboard. The topics will be complemented with motivations, instructive exercises and applications. Emphasis will be placed on the mathematical rigor of the presentation, which will be as much detailed and self-contained as possible.
Assessment methods and criteria
The final exam will consist in an oral interview, aiming at evaluating the learning ability of the student and the quality and rigor of his/her exposition.