The Minimal Period Problem for the Classical Forced Pendulum Equation

CDSNS Colloquium
Monday, April 20, 2009 - 16:30
2 hours
Skiles 255
Guangzhou University
In the talk I will discuss the periodicity of solutions to the classical forced pendulum equation y" + A sin y = f(t) where A= g/l is the ratio of the gravity constant and the pendulum length, and f(t) is an external periodic force with a minimal period T. The major concern is to characterize conditions on A and f under which the equation admits periodic solutions with a prescribed minimal period pT, where p>1 is an integer. I will show how the new approach, based on the critical point theory and an original decomposition technique, leads to the existence of such solutions without requiring p to be a prime as imposed in most previous approaches. In addition, I will present the first non-existence result of such solutions which indicates that long pendulum has a natural resistance to oscillate periodically.