Backwards uniqueness of the mean curvature flow


In this note we prove the backwards uniqueness of the mean curvature flow for (codimension one) hypersurfaces in a Euclidean space. More precisely, let \(F_t, \widetilde{F}_t{:}M^n \rightarrow \mathbb {R}^{n+1}\) be two complete solutions of the mean curvature flow on \(M^n \times [0,T]\) with bounded second fundamental forms. Suppose \(F_T=\widetilde{F}_T\), then \(F_t=\widetilde{F}_t\) on \(M^n \times [0,T]\). This is an analog of a result of Kotschwar on the Ricci flow.

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I was partially supported by NSFC No.10671018 and by Laboratory of Mathematics and Complex Systems, Ministry of Education, at BNU. The first version of this note was posted on the arXiv in 2009. Recently there appeared two papers extending our result above to the higher codimension case, cf. [7] (where the ambient spaces may be certain general Riemannian manifolds) and [8] (where the ambient spaces are Euclidean). I would like to thank the authors of these two papers for their comments on the first version of my note, in particular, thank Man-Chun Lee for pointing out a gap in the argument in it. I would also like to thank the referee for the comments.

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Correspondence to Hong Huang.

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Huang, H. Backwards uniqueness of the mean curvature flow. Geom Dedicata 203, 67–71 (2019).

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  • Mean curvature flow
  • Backwards uniqueness
  • Second fundamental form

Mathematics Subject Classification

  • 53C44