In this post we will see the six volume set of Generalized Functions by I. M. Gelfand, G. E. Shilov, M. I. Graev, N. Ya. Vilenkin, I. I. Pyatetskii-Shapiro.
About the books
The first systematic theory of generalized functions (also known as distributions) was created in the early 1950s, although some aspects were developed much earlier, most notably in the definition of the Green’s function in mathematics and in the work of Paul Dirac on quantum electrodynamics in physics. The six-volume collection, Generalized Functions, written by I. M. Gel′fand and co-authors and published in Russian between 1958 and 1966, gives an introduction to generalized functions and presents various applications to analysis, PDE, stochastic processes, and representation theory.
Volume 1 Properties And Operations is devoted to basics of the theory of generalized functions. The first chapter contains main definitions and most important properties of generalized functions as functional on the space of smooth functions with compact support. The second chapter talks about the Fourier transform of generalized functions. In Chapter 3, definitions and properties of some important classes of generalized functions are discussed; in particular, generalized functions supported on submanifolds of lower dimension, generalized functions associated with quadratic forms, and homogeneous generalized functions are studied in detail. Many simple basic examples make this book an excellent place for a novice to get acquainted with the theory of generalized functions. A long appendix presents basics of generalized functions of complex variables.
Volume 2 Spaces Of Fundamental And Generalized Functions is devoted to detailed study of generalized functions as linear functionals on appropriate spaces of smooth test functions. In Chapter 1, the authors introduce and study countable-normed linear topological spaces, laying out a general theoretical foundation for the analysis of spaces of generalized functions. The two most important classes of spaces of test functions are spaces of compactly supported functions and Schwartz spaces of rapidly decreasing functions. In Chapters 2 and 3 of the book, the authors transfer many results presented in Volume 1 to generalized functions corresponding to these more general spaces. Finally, Chapter 4 is devoted to the study of the Fourier transform; in particular, it includes appropriate versions of the Paley–Wiener theorem.
In Volume 3 Theory Of Differential Equations, applications of generalized functions to the Cauchy problem for systems of partial differential equations with constant coefficients are considered. The book includes the study of uniqueness classes of solutions of the Cauchy problem and the study of classes of functions where the Cauchy problem is well posed. The last chapter of this volume presents results related to spectral decomposition of differential operators related to generalized eigenfunctions.
The main goal of Volume 4 Applications Of Harmonic Analysis is to develop the functional analysis setup for the universe of generalized functions. The main notion introduced in this volume is the notion of rigged Hilbert space (also known as the equipped Hilbert space, or Gelfand triple). Such space is, in fact, a triple of topological vector spaces E⊂H⊂E′, where H is a Hilbert space, E′ is dual to E, and inclusions E⊂H and H⊂E′ are nuclear operators. The book is devoted to various applications of this notion, such as the theory of positive definite generalized functions, the theory of generalized stochastic processes, and the study of measures on linear topological spaces.
The unifying idea of Volume 5 Integral Geometry And Representation Theory in the series is the application of the theory of generalized functions developed in earlier volumes to problems of integral geometry, to representations of Lie groups, specifically of the Lorentz group, and to harmonic analysis on corresponding homogeneous spaces. The book is written with great clarity and requires little in the way of special previous knowledge of either group representation theory or integral geometry; it is also independent of the earlier volumes in the series. The exposition starts with the definition, properties, and main results related to the classical Radon transform, passing to integral geometry in complex space, representations of the group of complex unimodular matrices of second order, and harmonic analysis on this group and on most important homogeneous spaces related to this group. The volume ends with the study of representations of the group of real unimodular matrices of order two.
The unifying theme of Volume 6 Representation Theory And Automorphic Forms is the study of representations of the general linear group of order two over various fields and rings of number-theoretic nature, most importantly over local fields (p-adic fields and fields of power series over finite fields) and over the ring of adeles. Representation theory of the latter group naturally leads to the study of automorphic functions and related number-theoretic problems. The book contains a wealth of information about discrete subgroups and automorphic representations, and can be used both as a very good introduction to the subject and as a valuable reference.
The books were translated by Eugene Saletan (Vol. 1), Morris Friedman, Amiel Feinstein, Christian Peltzer (Vol. 2), Meinhard Meyet (Vol. 3), Amiel Feinstein (Vol. 4), Eugene Saletan (Vol. 5), K. A. Hirsch (Vol. 6). The series was published between 1964-1969. Vol 1 (1964) 1968 (Vol 2) 1967 (Vol 3), 1964 (Vol 4), 1966 (Vol 5), 1969 (Vol 6).
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