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Why the Boundary of a Round Drop Becomes a Curve of Order Four
A. N. Varchenko, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC, and P. I. Etingof, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA

University Lecture Series
1992; 72 pp; softcover
Volume: 3
ISBN-10: 0-8218-7002-5
ISBN-13: 978-0-8218-7002-0
List Price: US$20
Member Price: US$16
Order Code: ULECT/3
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This book concerns the problem of evolution of a round oil spot surrounded by water when oil is extracted from a well inside the spot. It turns out that the boundary of the spot remains an algebraic curve of degree four in the course of evolution. This curve is the image of an ellipse under a reflection with respect to a circle. Since the 1940s, work on this problem has led to generalizations of the reflection property and methods for constructing explicit solutions. More recently, the results have been extended to multiply connected domains. This text discusses this topic and other recent work in the theory of fluid flows with a moving boundary. Problems are included at the end of each chapter, and there is a list of open questions at the end of the book.


Advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and others interested in integrable systems and fluid mechanics.


"The book is well written."

-- Mathematical Reviews

Table of Contents

  • Mathematical model
  • First integrals of boundary motion
  • Algebraic solutions
  • Contraction of a gas bubble
  • Evolution of a multiply connected domain
  • Evolution with topological transformations
  • Contraction problem on surfaces
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