The solution of boundary value problems for partial differential equations is one of the most important fields of applications for integral equations. About a century ago the systematic development of the theory of integral equations was initiated by the treatment of boundary value problems and there has been an ongoing fruitful interaction between these two areas of applied mathematics. It is the aim of this chapter to introduce the main ideas of this field by studying the basic boundary value problems of potential theory. For the sake of simplicity we shall confine our presentation to the case of two and three space dimensions. The extension to more than three dimensions is straightforward. As we shall see, the treatment of the boundary integral equations for the potential theoretic boundary value problems delivers an instructive example for the application of the Fredholm alternative, since both its cases occur in a natural way.
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