by: Hans Ringström
Due to the complexity of Einstein’s equations, it is often natural to study a question of interest in the framework of a restricted class of solutions. One way to impose a restriction is to consider solutions satisfying a given symmetry condition. There are many possible choices, but the present article is concerned with one particular choice, which we shall refer to as Gowdy symmetry. We begin by explaining the origin and meaning of this symmetry type, which has been used as a simplifying assumption in various contexts, some of which we shall mention. Nevertheless, the subject of interest here is strong cosmic censorship. Consequently, after having described what the Gowdy class of spacetimes is, we describe, as seen from the perspective of a mathematician, what is meant by strong cosmic censorship. The existing results on cosmic censorship are based on a detailed analysis of the asymptotic behavior of solutions. This analysis is in part motivated by conjectures, such as the BKL conjecture, which we shall therefore briefly describe. However, the emphasis of the article is on the mathematical analysis of the asymptotics, due to its central importance in the proof and in the hope that it might be of relevance more generally. The article ends with a description of the results that have been obtained concerning strong cosmic censorship in the class of Gowdy spacetimes.