Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Mathematics and Statistics

Major Professor

Dmitry Khavinson, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Catherine Beneteau, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Vilmos Totik, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Vilmos Totik, Ph.D.


Quadrature domain, Schwarz potential, Laplacian growth, Zerner’s Theorem, Bony-Shapira Theorem, globalizing family, Fischer operator, Gauss decomposition, Almansi decomposition, Brelot-Choquet Theorem, polyharmonic function, lightning bolt, harmonic map, Blaschke product, gravitational lensing


In this thesis we are interested in some problems regarding harmonic functions. The topics are divided into three chapters.

Chapter 2 concerns singularities developed by solutions of the Cauchy problem for a holomorphic elliptic equation, especially Laplace's equation. The principal motivation is to locate the singularities of the Schwarz potential. The results have direct applications to Laplacian growth (or the Hele-Shaw problem).

Chapter 3 concerns the Dirichlet problem when the boundary is an algebraic set and the data is a polynomial or a real-analytic function. We pursue some questions related to the Khavinson-Shapiro conjecture. A main topic of interest is analytic continuability of the solution outside its natural domain.

Chapter 4 concerns certain complex-valued harmonic functions and their zeros. The special cases we consider apply directly in astrophysics to the study of multiple-image gravitational lenses.