Introduction and Preliminaries
The maximum principles of Eberhard Hopf are classical and bedrock results of the theory of second order elliptic partial differential equations. They go back to the maximum principle for harmonic functions, already known to Gauss in 1839 on the basis of the mean value theorem. On the other hand, they carry forward to the maximum principles of Gilbarg, Trudinger and Serrin, and the maximum principles for singular quasilinear elliptic differential inequalities, a theory initiated particularly by Vázquez and Diaz in the 1980s, but with earlier intimations in the work of Benilan, Brezis and Crandall. The purpose of the present work is to provide a clear explanation of the various maximum principles available for second-order elliptic equations, from their beginnings in linear theory to recent work on nonlinear equations, operators and inequalities. While simple in essence, these results lend themselves to a quite remarkable number of subtle uses when combined appropriately with other notions.
KeywordsMaximum Principle Harnack Inequality Dead Core Strong Maximum Principle Weak Harnack Inequality
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