Quebec Mathematical Sciences Colloquium

February 11, 2011 from 16:00 to 18:00 (Montreal/Miami time) On location

The 5-electron case of Thompson's problem

Colloquium presented by Richard Schwartz

Thompson's problem, which dates from 1904, asks how electrons arrange themselves on the sphere so as to minimize their total potential (Coulomb) energy. Chemists and physicists have long "known" that 5 electrons will arrange themselves into a triangular bi-pyramid so as to minimize their potential energy. Recently I worked out a rigorous, computer-aided proof of this result. In my talk, I'll explain the main ideas of the proof.


UQAM, Pav. Sherbrooke, 200, rue Sherbrooke O., room SH-3420