Differential Geometry and Integrable Systems

Paperback
Ideas and techniques from the theory of integrable systems are playing an increasingly important role in geometry. Thanks to the development of tools from Lie theory, algebraic geometry, symplectic geometry, and topology, classical problems are investigated more systematically. New problems are also arising in mathematical physics. A major international conference was held at the University of Tokyo in July 2000. It brought together scientists in all of the areas influenced by integrable systems. This book is the first of three collections of expository and research articles. This volume focuses on differential geometry. It is remarkable that many classical objects in surface theory and submanifold theory are described as integrable systems. Having such a description generally reveals previously unnoticed symmetries and can lead to surprisingly explicit solutions.Surfaces of constant curvature in Euclidean space, harmonic maps from surfaces to symmetric spaces, and analogous structures on higher-dimensional manifolds are some of the examples that have broadened the horizons of differential geometry, bringing a rich supply of concrete examples into the theory of integrable systems. Many of the articles in this volume are written by prominent researchers and will serve as introductions to the topics. It is intended for graduate students and researchers interested in integrable systems and their relations to differential geometry, topology, algebraic geometry, and physics. The second volume from this conference, also available from the 'AMS', is Integrable Systems, Topology, and Physics, Volume 309 in the Contemporary Mathematics series. The forthcoming third volume will be published by the Mathematical Society of Japan and will be available outside of Japan from the 'AMS' in the Advanced Studies in Pure Mathematics series.