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Geometric Aspects of Discretized Classical Field Theories: Extensions to Finite Element Exterior Calculus, Noether Theorems, and the Geodesic Finite Element Method

  • Author(s): Salamon, Joe
  • Advisor(s): Leok, Melvin
  • Holst, Michael
  • et al.
Abstract

In this dissertation, I will discuss and explore the various theoretical pillars re- quired to investigate the world of discretized gauge theories in a purely classical setting, with the long-term aim of achieving a fully-fledged discretization of General Relativity (GR). I will start with a brief review of differential forms, then present some results on the geometric framework of finite element exterior calculus (FEEC); in particular, I will elaborate on integrating metric structures within the framework and categorize the dual spaces of the various spaces of polynomial differential forms PrΛk(Rn). After a brief pedagogical detour on Noether’s two theorems, I will apply all of the above into discretizations of electromagnetism and linearized GR. I will conclude with an excursion into the geodesic finite element method (GFEM) as a way to generalize some of the above notions to curved manifolds.

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