Some Solutions to Overdetermined Boundary Value Problems on Subdomains of Spheres

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For n an open domain contained in a Riemannian manifold M, various researchers have considered the problem of finding functions u : Ω → R which satisfy overdetermined boundary value problems such as Δu + αu = 0 in Ω and u = 0 and ∂u/∂n = constant on ∂Ω. (Here Δ is the Laplace-Beltrami operator on M.) Their results demonstrate the relative difficulty of finding such solutions. It has been shown for various choices of M (e.g., M = R^n or S+n) that the only domains Ω with ∂Ω connected and sufficiently regular which admit solutions to problems such as the one above are metric balls (see, e.g., [Be1] or [Se]) . The first result of this thesis is a set of domains contained in S^n which are not metric balls but which do admit solutions to various overdetermined boundary value problems. In the case of the problem stated above, solutions are found for infinitely many choices of α. It is observed that the solutions found are isoparametric functions. (A function g is isoparametric if ~g and the le ngth of the gradient of g are both functions of g, see [Ca].) In some cases, it is shown that these functions are restrictions of spherical eigenfunctions. In some cases, they are not. Next, for these same domains, an original choice of variables is developed under which the Laplace operator can be separated. This separation of variables is used to find a complete set of Dirichlet eigenfunctions for the domains. Initial sequences of Dirichlet eigenvalues for some of the domains are computed numerically. Finally, some comments are made about the connection between solutions to overdetermined problems and isoparametric functions.