Colloquium
Colloquium

Stability at saddles of potentials

A. R. P. Rau
Department of Physics & Astronomy, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge

             A variety of instances in celestial, classical and quantum mechanics,  and electromagnetism involve quasi-stability at saddle points of
multi-dimensional surfaces. These include Lagrange Points and Trojan asteroids, Paul traps, highly excited states of atoms in magnetic fields,
doubly-excited states of atoms, and transition states controlling chemical transformation. Some unifying themes behind these patterns, especially
Coriolis-type couplings in both time-dependent and time-independent phenomena that lead to quasi-stability, will be discussed.