, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 870-892
Date: 30 Jun 2008

From the Mahler Conjecture to Gauss Linking Integrals

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We establish a version of the bottleneck conjecture, which in turn implies a partial solution to the Mahler conjecture on the product v(K)  = (Vol K)(Vol K°) of the volume of a symmetric convex body \(K \in {\mathbb{R}}^{n}\) and its polar body K°. The Mahler conjecture asserts that the Mahler volume v(K) is minimized (non-uniquely) when K is an n-cube. The bottleneck conjecture (in its least general form) asserts that the volume of a certain domain \(K^{\diamond} \subseteq K \times K^{\circ}\) is minimized when K is an ellipsoid. It implies the Mahler conjecture up to a factor of (π/4) n γ n , where γ n is a monotonic factor that begins at 4/π and converges to \({\sqrt2}\) . This strengthens a result of Bourgain and Milman, who showed that there is a constant c such that the Mahler conjecture is true up to a factor of c n .

The proof uses a version of the Gauss linking integral to obtain a constant lower bound on Vol K , with equality when K is an ellipsoid. It applies to a more general conjecture concerning the join of any two necks of the pseudospheres of an indefinite inner product space. Because the calculations are similar, we will also analyze traditional Gauss linking integrals in the sphere S n-1 and in hyperbolic space H n-1.

Dedicated to my father, on no particular occasion
This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0606795
Received: December 2006, Accepted: January 2007