The mean curvature flow (MCF) of any closed hypersurface becomes singular in finite time. Once one knows that singularities occur, one naturally wonders what the singularities are like. For minimal varieties the first answer, by Federer-Fleming in 1959, is that they weakly resemble cones. For MCF, by the combined work of Huisken, Ilmanen, and White, singularities weakly resemble shrinkers. Unfortunately, the simple proofs leave open the possibility that a minimal variety or a MCF looked at under a microscope will resemble one blowup, but under higher magnification, it might (as far as anyone knows) resemble a completely different blowup. Whether this ever happens is perhaps the most fundamental question about singularities. We will discuss the proof of this long standing open question for MCF at all generic singularities and for mean convex MCF at all singularities. This is joint work with Toby Colding.
Group for Research in Decision Analysis