School of Mathematical Sciences

Thomson's 5-electron problem menu

Thomson's 5-electron problem

Richard Schwartz (Brown and Oxford)
Mon, 21/01/2013 - 16:30
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.

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