Besides the obvious application of minimal surface theory to the study of soap
films, there are a number of other physical systems in which the theory of
minimal surfaces has a sometimes surprising applicability. To this author, a
rekindling of an interest in minimal surfaces came from the (recent in 1991)
realization that the topological patterns associated with hydrodynamic
instabilities and wakes can be related to minimal surfaces. Minimal surfaces
can be interpreted as limit sets which are the results of a (perhaps
irreversible) process decaying into a stationary state. A number of theories
and hopefully interesting observations are presented below, utilizing the ideas
of minimal surfaces in 4 dimensions.
Also see the
Maple printout for the Minimal surface
generated by the holomorphic Madelbrot generator.