Introduction to the $h$-Principle (Graduate Studies in Mathematics)

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9780821832271: Introduction to the $h$-Principle (Graduate Studies in Mathematics)
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One of the most powerful modern methods of solving partial differential equations is Gromov's $h$-principle. It has also been, traditionally, one of the most difficult to explain. This book is the first broadly accessible exposition of the principle and its applications. The essence of the $h$-principle is the reduction of problems involving partial differential relations to problems of a purely homotopy-theoretic nature. Two famous examples of the $h$-principle are the Nash-Kuiper $C1$-isometric embedding theory in Riemannian geometry and the Smale-Hirsch immersion theory in differential topology. Gromov transformed these examples into a powerful general method for proving the $h$-principle. Both of these examples and their explanations in terms of the $h$-principle are covered in detail in the book. The authors cover two main embodiments of the principle: holonomic approximation and convex integration. The first is a version of the method of continuous sheaves. The reader will find that, with a few notable exceptions, most instances of the $h$-principle can be treated by the methods considered here. There are, naturally, many connections to symplectic and contact geometry. The book would be an excellent text for a graduate course on modern methods for solving partial differential equations. Geometers and analysts will also find much value in this very readable exposition of an important and remarkable technique.

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