School of Mathematical Sciences

Thomson's 5-electron problem menu

Thomson's 5-electron problem

Speaker: 
Richard Schwartz (Brown and Oxford)
Date/Time: 
Mon, 21/01/2013 - 16:30
Room: 
M103
Seminar series: 

In 1904, J. J. Thomson asked how N electrons would arrange themselves on the sphere so as to minimize their total Coulomb energy. In case N=2,3,4,6,12, the answer is that the points arrange themselves into the most symmetrical possible arrangement - e.g., a regular pyramid in case N=4. I will explain my recent computer-assisted proof that the triangular bi-pyramid is the unique energy minimizing configuration in the case N=5.

Speaker's webpage
http://www.math.brown.edu/~res/
Related material
http://www.math.brown.edu/~res/Papers/electron.pdf