Skip to main content
main-content

Über dieses Buch

The Kepler conjecture, one of geometry's oldest unsolved problems, was formulated in 1611 by Johannes Kepler and mentioned by Hilbert in his famous 1900 problem list. The Kepler conjecture states that the densest packing of three-dimensional Euclidean space by equal spheres is attained by the “cannonball" packing. In a landmark result, this was proved by Thomas C. Hales and Samuel P. Ferguson, using an analytic argument completed with extensive use of computers.

This book centers around six papers, presenting the detailed proof of the Kepler conjecture given by Hales and Ferguson, published in 2006 in a special issue of Discrete & Computational Geometry. Further supporting material is also presented: a follow-up paper of Hales et al (2010) revising the proof, and describing progress towards a formal proof of the Kepler conjecture. For historical reasons, this book also includes two early papers of Hales that indicate his original approach to the conjecture.

The editor's two introductory chapters situate the conjecture in a broader historical and mathematical context. These chapters provide a valuable perspective and are a key feature of this work.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Errata

Without Abstract
Jeffrey C. Lagarias

Introduction and Survey

Frontmatter

1. The Kepler Conjecture and Its Proof

Abstract
This paper describes work on the Kepler conjecture starting from its statement in 1611 and culminating in the proof of Hales-Ferguson in 1998–2006. It discusses both the difficulty of the problem and of its solution.
Jeffrey C. Lagarias

2. Bounds for Local Density of Sphere Packings and the Kepler Conjecture

Abstract
This paper formalizes the local density inequality approach to getting upper bounds for sphere packing densities in ℝn. This approach was first suggested by L. Fejes Tóth in 1953 as a method to prove the Kepler conjecture that the densest packing of unit spheres in ℝ3 has density \(\pi / \sqrt{18}\), which is attained by the “cannonball packing.” Local density inequalities give upper bounds for the sphere packing density formulated as an optimization problem of a nonlinear function over a compact set in a finite-dimensional Euclidean space. The approaches of Fejes Tóth, of Hsiang, and of Hales to the Kepler conjecture are each based on (different) local density inequalities. Recently Hales, together with Ferguson, has presented extensive details carrying out a modified version of the Hales approach to prove the Kepler conjecture. We describe the particular local density inequality underlying the Hales and Ferguson approach to prove Kepler’s conjecture and sketch some features of their proof.
J. C. Lagarias

Proof of the Kepler Conjecture

Frontmatter

3. Historical Overview of the Kepler Conjecture

Abstract
This paper is the first in a series of six papers devoted to the proof of the Kepler conjecture, which asserts that no packing of congruent balls in three dimensions has density greater than the face-centered cubic packing. After some preliminary comments about the face-centered cubic and hexagonal close packings, the history of the Kepler problem is described, including a discussion of various published bounds on the density of sphere packings. There is also a general historical discussion of various proof strategies that have been tried with this problem.
Thomas C. Hales

4. A Formulation of the Kepler Conjecture

Abstract
This paper is the second in a series of six papers devoted to the proof of the Kepler conjecture, which asserts that no packing of congruent balls in three dimensions has density greater than the face-centered cubic packing. The top level structure of the proof is described. A compact topological space is described. Each point of this space can be described as a finite cluster of balls with additional combinatorial markings. A continuous function on this compact space is defined. It is proved that the Kepler conjecture will follow if the value of this function is never greater than a given explicit constant.
Thomas C. Hales, Samuel P. Ferguson

5. Sphere Packings, III. Extremal Cases

Abstract
This paper is the third in a series of six papers devoted to the proof of the Kepler conjecture, which asserts that no packing of congruent balls in three dimensions has density greater than the face-centered cubic packing. In the previous paper in this series, a continuous function f on a compact space was defined, certain points in the domain were conjectured to give the global maxima, and the relation between this conjecture and the Kepler conjecture was established. This paper shows that those points are indeed local maxima. Various approximations to f are developed, that will be used in subsequent papers to bound the value of the function f. The function f can be expressed as a sum of terms, indexed by regions on a unit sphere. Detailed estimates of the terms corresponding to triangular and quadrilateral regions are developed.
Thomas C. Hales

6. Sphere Packings, IV. Detailed Bounds

Abstract
This paper is the fourth in a series of six papers devoted to the proof of theKepler conjecture, which asserts that no packing of congruent balls in three dimensions has density greater than the face-centered cubic packing. In a previous paper in this series, a continuous function f on a compact spacewas defined, certain points in the domain were conjectured to give the global maxima, and the relation between this conjecture and the Kepler conjecture was established. The function f can be expressed as a sum of terms, indexed by regions on a unit sphere. In this paper detailed estimates of the terms corresponding to general regions are developed. These results form the technical heart of the proof of the Kepler conjecture, by giving detailed bounds on the function f. The results rely on long computer calculations.
Thomas C. Hales

7. Sphere Packings, V. Pentahedral Prisms

Abstract
This paper is the fifth in a series of papers devoted to the proof of the Kepler conjecture, which asserts that no packing of congruent balls in three dimensions has density greater than the face-centered cubic packing. In this paper we prove that decomposition stars associated with the plane graph of arrangements we term pentahedral prisms do not contravene. Recall that a contravening decomposition star is a potential counterexample to the Kepler conjecture. We use interval arithmetic methods to prove particular linear relations on components of any such contravening decomposition star. These relations are then combined to prove that no such contravening stars exist.
Samuel P. Ferguson

8. Sphere Packings, VI. Tame Graphs and Linear Programs

Abstract
This paper is the sixth and final part in a series of papers devoted to the proof of the Kepler conjecture, which asserts that no packing of congruent balls in three dimensions has density greater than the face-centered cubic packing. In a previous paper in this series, a continuous function f on a compact space is defined, certain points in the domain are conjectured to give the global maxima, and the relation between this conjecture and the Kepler conjecture is established. In this paper we consider the set of all points in the domain for which the value of f is at least the conjectured maximum. To each such point, we attach a planar graph. It is proved that each such graph must be isomorphic to a tame graph, of which there are only finitely many up to isomorphism. Linear programming methods are then used to eliminate all possibilities, except for three special cases treated in earlier papers: pentahedral prisms, the face-centered cubic packing, and the hexagonal-close packing. The results of this paper rely on long computer calculations.
Thomas C. Hales

A Revision to the Proof of the Kepler Conjecture

Frontmatter

9. A Revision of the Proof of the Kepler Conjecture

Abstract
The Kepler conjecture asserts that no packing of congruent balls in threedimensional Euclidean space has density greater than that of the face-centered cubic packing. The original proof, announced in 1998 and published in 2006, is long and complex. The process of revision and review did not end with the publication of the proof. This article summarizes the current status of a long-term initiative to reorganize the original proof into a more transparent form and to provide a greater level of certification of the correctness of the computer code and other details of the proof. A final part of this article lists errata in the original proof of the Kepler conjecture.
Thomas C. Hales, John Harrison, Sean McLaughlin, Tobias Nipkow, Steven Obua, Roland Zumkeller

Initial Papers of the Hales Program

Frontmatter

10. Sphere Packings, I

Abstract
We describe a program to prove the Kepler conjecture on sphere packings. We then carry out the first step of this program. Each packing determines a decomposition of space into Delaunay simplices, which are grouped together into finite configurations called Delaunay stars. A score, which is related to the density of packings, is assigned to each Delaunay star.We conjecture that the score of every Delaunay star is at most the score of the stars in the face-centered cubic and hexagonal close packings. This conjecture implies the Kepler conjecture. To complete the first step of the program, we show that every Delaunay star that satisfies a certain regularity condition satisfies the conjecture.
T. C. Hales

11. Sphere Packings, II

Abstract
An earlier paper describes a program to prove the Kepler conjecture on sphere packings. This paper carries out the second step of that program. A sphere packing leads to a decomposition of ℝ3 into polyhedra. The polyhedra are divided into two classes. The first class of polyhedra, called quasi-regular tetrahedra, have density at most that of a regular tetrahedron. The polyhedra in the remaining class have density at most that of a regular octahedron (about 0.7209).
T. C. Hales

Backmatter

Weitere Informationen

Premium Partner

    Bildnachweise