Geometric Perturbation Theory and Sound Localization

  • Leo van Hemmen (Technical University Munich, Munich, Germany)
E1 05 (Leibniz-Saal)


Geometric perturbation theory is universally needed but not recognized as such yet. A typical example is provided by the three-dimensional wave equation, widely used in acoustics; particularly, in modelling the input to animal hearing and sound localization. We face vibrating eardrums as binaural auditory input stemming from an external sound source. In the setup of internally coupled ears (ICE), which are present in more than half of the land-living vertebrates, the two tympana are coupled by an internal air-filled cavity, whose geometry determines the acoustic properties of the ICE system. The eardrums themselves are described by a two-dimensional, damped, wave equation and are part of the spatial boundary conditions of the three-dimensional Laplacian belonging to the wave equation of the internal cavity that couples and internally drives the eardrums. In animals with ICE the resulting signal is the superposition of external sound arriving at both eardrums and the internal pressure coupling them. This is also the typical setup for geometric perturbation theory. In the context of ICE it boils down to acoustic boundary-condition dynamics (ABCD) for the coupled dynamical system of eardrums and internal cavity. In acoustics, the deviations from equilibrium are extremely small (nm range). Perturbation theory therefore seems natural and is shown to be appropriate. In doing so, we use a time-dependent perturbation theory à la Dirac in the context of Duhamel’s principle. We set the general stage for geometric perturbation theory where (d − 1)-dimensional manifolds as subsets of the boundary of a d-dimensional domain are driven by their own dynamics with e.g. the domain pressure p and an external source term as input, at the same time constituting time-dependent boundary conditions for p.


5/16/22 5/25/22

Mathematical Concepts in the Sciences and Humanities

MPI für Mathematik in den Naturwissenschaften Leipzig (Leipzig) E1 05 (Leibniz-Saal) Live Stream

Katharina Matschke

Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences, Germany Contact via Mail

Nihat Ay

Hamburg University of Technology, Germany and Santa Fe Institute

Eckehard Olbrich

Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences, Germany

Felix Otto

Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences, Germany

Bernd Sturmfels

Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences, Germany