PDE Seminar Abstracts

We consider the Dirichlet problem for a class of fully nonlinear elliptic equations on a bounded domain $\Omega $. We assume that $\Omega $ is symmetric about a hyperplane $H$ and convex in the direction perpendicular to $H$. By a well-known result of Gidas, Ni and Nirenberg and its generalizations, all positive solutions are reflectionally symmetric about $H$ and decreasing away from the hyperplane in the direction orthogonal $H$. For nonnegative solutions, this result is not always true. We show that, nonetheless, the symmetry part of the result remains valid for nonnegative solutions: any nonnegative solution $u$ is symmetric about $H$. Moreover, we prove that if $u\not\equiv 0$, then the nodal set of $u$ divides the domain $\Omega $ into a finite number of reflectionally symmetric subdomains in which $u$ has the usual Gidas-Ni-Nirenberg symmetry and monotonicity properties. Examples of nonnegative solutions with nontrivial nodal structure will also be given.

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