Analysis and Mathematical Physics
Book Preface
The London Taught Course Centre (LTCC) for PhD students in the Mathematical Sciences has the objective of introducing research students to a broad range of topics. For some students, some of these topics might be of obvious relevance to their PhD projects, but the relevance of most will be much less obvious or apparently non-existent. However all of us involved in mathematical research have experienced that extraordinary moment when the penny drops and some tiny gem of information from outside ones immediate research field turns out to be the key to unravelling a seemingly insoluble problem, or to opening up a new vista of mathematical structure. By offering our students advanced introductions to a range of different areas of mathematics, we hope to open their eyes to new possibilities that they might not otherwise encounter.
Each volume in this series consists of chapters on a group of related themes, based on modules taught at the LTCC by their authors. These modules were already short (five two-hour lectures) and in most cases the lecture notes here are even shorter, covering perhaps three-quarters of the content of the original LTCC course. This brevity was quite deliberate on the part of the editors — we asked the authors to confine themselves to around 35 pages in each chapter, in order to allow as many topics as possible to be included in each volume, while keeping the volumes digestible. The chapters are “advanced introductions”, and readers who wish to learn more are encouraged to continue elsewhere. There has been no attempt to make the coverage of topics comprehensive. That would be impossible in any case — any book or series of books which included all that a PhD student in mathematics might need to know would be so large as to be totally unreadable. Instead what we present in this series is a cross-section of some of the topics, both classical and new, that have appeared in LTCC modules in the nine years since it was founded.
The present volume covers topics in analysis and mathematical physics. The main readers are likely to be graduate students and more experienced researchers in the mathematical sciences, looking for introductions to areas with which they are unfamiliar. The mathematics presented is intended to be accessible to first year PhD students, whatever their specialised areas of research. Whatever your mathematical background, we encourage you to dive in, and we hope that you will enjoy the experience of widening your mathematical knowledge by reading these concise introductory accounts written by experts at the forefront of current research.
Shaun Bullett, Tom Fearn, Frank Smith
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