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A formal Riemannian structure on conformal classes and the inverse Gauss curvature flow

  • Gursky, Matthew J.
  • Streets, Jeffrey
Publication Date
Jul 16, 2015
Submission Date
Jul 16, 2015
arXiv ID: 1507.04781
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We define a formal Riemannian metric on a given conformal class of metrics on a closed Riemann surface. We show interesting formal properties for this metric, in particular the curvature is nonpositive and the Liouville energy is geodesically convex. The geodesic equation for this metric corresponds to a degenerate elliptic fully nonlinear PDE, and we prove that any two points are connected by a $C^{1,1}$ geodesic. Using this we can define a length space structure on the given conformal class. We present a different approach to the uniformization theorem by studying the negative gradient flow of the normalized Liouville energy, a new geometric flow whose principal term is the inverse of the Gauss curvature. We prove long time existence of solutions with arbitrary initial data and weak convergence to constant scalar curvature metrics. This is all a special case of a more general construction on even dimensional manifolds related to the $\sigma_{\frac{n}{2}}$-Yamabe problem, which will appear in a forthcoming article.

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