Guowu Meng, Ph.D. (Brown, 1993)


Guowu Meng is a Professor at HKUST. He joined the university in Fall 1993. Professor Meng was a CUSPEA student in class 1986 from USTC. He switched to mathematics in 1989. His Ph.D. field of research is topology, and his thesis advisor is Thomas Goodwillie.

Professor Meng is best known mathematically as the "Meng" in Meng-Taubes Formula. This formula is a fundamental result in three- and four-dimensional topology. It links the modern Seiberg-Witten theory for smooth four-manifolds to the classical Alexander theory for knots, links, and three-manifolds. The formula states that each coefficient of the multi-variable Alexander polynomial of a knot, link, or three-manifold is precisely the number of solutions (counted with signs) of the static Seiberg-Witten equations for a specific topological setup.

In recent years, Professor Meng's mathematical exploration has focused on the Kepler problem. This problem is the mathematical model for a solar system with a single planet or an atom with a single electron, depending on whether it is considered classically or quantum mechanically. The goal of this exploration is to discover the mathematical essence of this great problem and explore the potential implications (of mathematical findings) to fundamental physics. One surprising discovery of this exploration is an intimate relationship between the Kepler problem in classical physics and the signature mathematical structures in the theory of relativity, which includes concepts such as the light cone, Lorentz transformations, time-like geodesics, Poincaré algebra, and de Sitter and anti-de Sitter algebras.

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Department of Mathematics, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clear Water Bay, Hong Kong counter
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