I am completely stumped on Green's function regarding PDE's. There are barely any examples in my book on how to apply it. For example, if a question asks, "find the Green's function ..." to some specified domain, what am I looking for? What does it mean to find Green's function? Is there a formula to use? Green's function seems so abstract to me. It's just not clicking.


Let $\Omega$ be a domain in the plane (open connected set) and $p$ a point in $\Omega$. A Green function, $G_p$ is a smooth function defined on $\Omega \cup \partial \Omega$ such that:

(i) $G_p$ is harmonic on $\Omega \setminus \{p\}$

(ii) $G_p$ is continuous on $(\Omega \cup \partial \Omega)\setminus \{p\}$

(iii) $G_p$ is zero on the boundary $\partial \Omega$

(iv) $G_p$ has a simple pole at $p$ with reside $\frac{1}{4\pi}$

My Reference is the PDE book by Walter Strauss. His treatment of Green's functions is excellent. You should look him up if you want to understand this topic better.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you! What do I do in situations where it asks, for example, "Find Green's function for the upper half-ball" or "Find Green's function for the disk of radius a>0" or "Find Green's function for the titled half space" and so on. $\endgroup$ – Robben Nov 25 '14 at 22:10
  • $\begingroup$ If you are familiar with complex variables you can obtain a Green's function for the disk by using a conformal mapping from the upper half plane to the disk. So if you know one Green's function you can get other types by suitable conformal maps. $\endgroup$ – Nicolas Bourbaki Nov 25 '14 at 22:15

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