Abstract:
The calibration method is used to identify some minimizers of the Mumford-Shah functional. The method is then extended to more general free discontinuity problems.

Abstract:
We investigate the value function of the Bolza problem of the Calculus of Variations $$ V (t,x)=\inf \{\int_{0}^{t} L (y(s),y'(s))ds + \phi(y(t)) : y \in W^{1,1} (0,t; R^n) ; y(0)=x \}, $$ with a lower semicontinuous Lagrangian $L$ and a final cost $\phi$, and show that it is locally Lipschitz for $t>0$ whenever $L$ is locally bounded. It also satisfies Hamilton-Jacobi inequalities in a generalized sense. When the Lagrangian is continuous, then the value function is the unique lower semicontinuous solution to the corresponding Hamilton-Jacobi equation, while for discontinuous Lagrangian we characterize the value function by using the so called contingent inequalities.

Abstract:
We prove the uniqueness of the viscosity solution to the Hamilton-Jacobi equation associated with a Bolza problem of the Calculus of Variations, assuming that the Lagrangian is autonomous, continuous, superlinear, and satisfies the usual convexity hypothesis. Under the same assumptions we prove also the uniqueness, in a class of lower semicontinuous functions, of a slightly different notion of solution, where classical derivatives are replaced only by subdifferentials. These results follow from a new comparison theorem for lower semicontinuous viscosity supersolutions of the Hamilton-Jacobi equation, that is proved in the general case of lower semicontinuous Lagrangians.

Abstract:
We consider a class of non-quasiconvex frame indifferent energy densities which includes Ogden-type energy densities for nematic elastomers. For the corresponding geometrically linear problem we provide an explicit minimizer of the energy functional satisfying a nontrivial boundary condition. Other attainment results, both for the nonlinear and the linearized model, are obtained by using the theory of convex integration introduced by M\"uller and Sver\'ak in the context of crystalline solids.

Abstract:
We study some properties of the obstacle reactions associated with the solutions of unilateral obstacle problems with measure data. These results allow us to prove that, under very weak assumptions on the obstacles, the solutions do not depend on the components of the negative parts of the data which are concentrated on sets of capacity zero. The proof is based on a careful analysis of the behaviour of the potentials of two mutually singular measures near the points where both potentials tend to infinity.

Abstract:
In this paper some new tools for the study of evolution problems in the framework of Young measures are introduced. A suitable notion of time-dependent system of generalized Young measures is defined, which allows to extend the classical notions of total variation and absolute continuity with respect to time, as well as the notion of time derivative. The main results are a Helly type theorem for sequences of systems of generalized Young measures and a theorem about the existence of the time derivative for systems with bounded variation with respect to time.

Abstract:
Finland experienced extraordinary smoke episodes in 2006. The smoke was measured at the three SMEAR measurement network stations in Finland after it had been transported several hundreds of kilometers from burning areas in Eastern Europe. A trajectory method combining MODIS fire detections and HYSPLIT trajectories enabled us to separate the effect of biomass burning smoke from the measured concentrations and also study the changes in the smoke during its transport. The long-range transported smoke included at least NOx, SO2, CO2, CO, black carbon and fine aerosol particles, peaking at 100 to 200 nm size. The most reliable smoke markers were CO and SO2, especially when combined with particle data, for which black carbon or the condensation sink are very effective parameters separating the smoke episodes from no-smoke episodes. Signs of fresh secondary particles was observed based on the particle number size distribution data. While transported from south to north, particles grew in size, even after transport of tens of hours and several hundreds of kilometres. No new aerosol particle formation events were observed at the measurement sites during the smoke periods.

Abstract:
We present some recent existence results for the variational model of crack growth in brittle materials proposed by Francfort and Marigo in 1998. These results, obtained in collaboration with Francfort and Toader, cover the case of arbitrary space dimension with a general quasiconvex bulk energy and with prescribed boundary deformations and applied loads.

Abstract:
The first part of the course is devoted to the study of solutions to the Laplace equation in $\Omega\setminus K$, where $\Omega$ is a two-dimensional smooth domain and $K$ is a compact one-dimensional subset of $\Omega$. The solutions are required to satisfy a homogeneous Neumann boundary condition on $K$ and a nonhomogeneous Dirichlet condition on (part of) $\partial\Omega$. The main result is the continuous dependence of the solution on $K$, with respect to the Hausdorff metric, provided that the number of connected components of $K$ remains bounded. Classical examples show that the result is no longer true without this hypothesis. Using this stability result, the second part of the course develops a rigorous mathematical formulation of a variational quasi-static model of the slow growth of brittle fractures, recently introduced by Francfort and Marigo. Starting from a discrete-time formulation, a more satisfactory continuous-time formulation is obtained, with full justification of the convergence arguments.