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On the magnitudes of compact sets in Euclidean spaces

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Original languageEnglish
Number of pages39
JournalAmerican Journal of Mathematics
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2018


The notion of the magnitude of a metric space was introduced
by Leinster in [11] and developed in [16], [12], [17], [20] and [13], but the magnitudes of familiar sets in Euclidean space are only understood in relatively few cases. In this paper we study the magnitudes of compact sets in Euclidean spaces. We first describe the asymptotics of the magnitude of such sets in both the small and large-scale regimes. We then consider the magnitudes of compact convex sets with nonempty interior in Euclidean spaces of odd dimension, and relate them to the boundary behaviour of solutions to certain naturally associated higher order elliptic boundary value problems in exterior domains.
We carry out calculations leading to an algorithm for explicit evaluation of the
magnitudes of balls, and this establishes the convex magnitude conjecture of
Leinster and Willerton [12] in the special case of balls in dimension three. In
general we show that the magnitude of an odd-dimensional ball is a rational
function of its radius. In addition to Fourier-analytic and PDE techniques, the
arguments also involve some combinatorial considerations

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