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arXiv:1012.4849v1 [math.PR] 22 Dec 2010 DONALD BURKHOLDER’S WORK IN MARTINGALES AND ANALYSIS RODRIGO BA ˜ NUELOS AND BURGESS DAVIS CONTENTS 1. Introduction 1 2. Martingale Inequalities 3 3. Martingale Inequalities and Hardy spaces 9 4. The good-λ method 12 5. The Sharp Martingale Inequalities 16 5.1. The (p 1) constant in analysis 19 5.2. Rank-one convexity and quasiconvexity 21 References 24 1. I NTRODUCTION The two mathematicians who have most advanced martingale theory in the last seventy years are Joseph Doob and Donald Burkholder. Martingales as a remarkably flexible tool are used throughout probability and its appli- cations to other areas of mathematics. They are central to modern stochastic analysis. And martingales, which can be defined in terms of fair games, lie at the core of mathematical finance. Burkholder’s research has profoundly advanced not only martingale theory but also, via martingale connections, harmonic and functional analysis. The work of Burkholder and Gundy on martingales in the late sixties and early seventies, which followed Burkholder’s seminal 1966 paper Martin- gale Transforms [29], led to applications in analysis which revolutionized parts of this subject. Burkholder’s outstanding work in the geometry of Banach spaces, described by Gilles Pisier in this volume, arose from his ex- tension of martingale inequalities to settings beyond Hilbert spaces where the square function approach used in [29] fails. His work in the eighties and Date: December 21, 2010. To appear in “Collected works of D.L. Burkholder”. R. Ba˜ nuelos is supported in part by NSF Grant # 1005844-DMS. 1

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1. Introduction 12. Martingale Inequalities 33. Martingale Inequalities and Hardy spaces 94. The good-λ method 125. The Sharp Martingale Inequalities 165.1. The(p∗ − 1) constant in analysis 195.2. Rank-one convexity and quasiconvexity 21References 24


The two mathematicians who have most advanced martingale theory inthe last seventy years are Joseph Doob and Donald Burkholder. Martingalesas a remarkably flexible tool are used throughout probability and its appli-cations to other areas of mathematics. They are central to modern stochasticanalysis. And martingales, which can be defined in terms of fair games, lieat the core of mathematical finance. Burkholder’s research has profoundlyadvanced not only martingale theory but also, via martingale connections,harmonic and functional analysis.

The work of Burkholder and Gundy on martingales in the late sixties andearly seventies, which followed Burkholder’s seminal 1966paper Martin-gale Transforms[29], led to applications in analysis which revolutionizedparts of this subject. Burkholder’s outstanding work in thegeometry ofBanach spaces, described by Gilles Pisier in this volume, arose from his ex-tension of martingale inequalities to settings beyond Hilbert spaces wherethe square function approach used in [29] fails. His work in the eighties and

Date: December 21, 2010.To appear in “Collected works of D.L. Burkholder”.R. Banuelos is supported in part by NSF Grant # 1005844-DMS.


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nineties on martingale inequalities with emphasis on identifying best con-stants has become of great importance recently in the investigations of twowell known open problems. One of these concerns optimalLp bounds for asingular integral operator (the two dimensional Hilbert transform) and theirramifications in quasiconformal mappings. The other relates to a longstand-ing conjecture in the calculus of variations dealing with rank-one convexand quasiconvex functions. These conjectures, which have received muchattention in recent years largely due to the beautiful and original techniquesdeveloped by Burkholder in his work on sharp martingale inequalities, comefrom fields which on the surface are far removed from martingales.

We will describe in some detail a remarkable technique discovered byBurkholder and Gundy, which shows how certain integral inequalities be-tween two nonnegative functions on a measure space follow from inequal-ities involving only parts of their distribution. This seemingly simple butincredibly elegant technique, often, and here, referred toas “the good–λmethod,” revolutionized the way probabilists and analyststhink of normcomparison problems. It is now widely used in areas of mathematics whichinvolve integrals and operators.

It is interesting to note that since 1973, Burkholder has written only twopapers with a co-author and that he has written more than one paper onlywith Richard Gundy. The papers [56] of Burkholder and Gundy and [59] ofBurkholder, Gundy, and Silverstein are exceptionally important. The resultsof [56] include the good–λ inequalities and fundamental integral inequali-ties comparing the maximal function and the square function, or quadraticvariation, of martingales having controlled jumps or continuous paths. Avery large share of the extensive applications of these kinds of martingaleinequalities, both in probability and other areas of mathematics, involvecontinuous path martingales. The paper [59] strikingly improved and com-pleted work of Hardy and Littlewood on the characterizationof the HardyHp spaces via the integrability of certain maximal functions.While proba-bilistic techniques had already gained the respect of many analysts studyingharmonic functions and potential theory, due in part to earlier work of Doob,Kakutani, Wiener and others, this landmark paper had a profound influencein harmonic analysis and propelled many analysts to learn probability.

The next section begins with a brief introduction to the good–λ method,in the context of its original application to martingales. We then trace therest of the development of the theory of martingale square functions andtransforms in the late sixties and early seventies, pioneered by Burkholder.We follow this with a discussion of [59] and the subsequent study ofHp

theory by a number of researchers, and much more on the surprisingly richgood-λ inequalities. In the final sections we discuss Burkholder’slater work


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on sharp martingale inequalities and some of the remarkablespread of hisideas over other areas of mathematics.


Brownian motion stopped at a stopping time is a continuous martingale,and the continuous martingale inequalities of [56] follow from their validityjust for stopped Brownian motions. We will elaborate on thislater. We willuseB = Bt; t ≥ 0 to denote standard Brownian motion. This means thatB is a stochastic process with continuous paths, that its incrementBt − Bs

over the interval[s, t] has a normal distribution with mean 0 and variancet − s, that its increments over each of a collection of disjoint intervals areindependent, and thatB0 = 0. We recall that if the random variableτ isa stopping time forB thenτ ≥ 0 and if P (τ > s) > 0 and t > s, theconditional distribution, givenτ > s, of Bt − Bs is normal with mean zeroand variancet − s. The maximal function ofB up to the stopping timeτwill be denoted byB∗

τ = sup|Bs| : 0 ≤ s < τ. The following theorem isfrom [56].

Theorem 2.1. Let Φ be a continuous nondecreasing function on[0,∞)satisfyingΦ(0) = 0 andΦ(2λ) ≤ KΦ(λ), λ ≥ 0, for some constantK.Then there are positive constantsc andC, which depend only onK, suchthat for any stopping timeτ for B,

(2.1) cEΦ(√τ ) ≤ EΦ(B∗

τ ) ≤ CEΦ(√τ).

Remark 2.1. Two important examples of functionsΦ satisfying this “mod-erate” growth property areΦ(x) = xp, 0 < p < ∞, andΦ(x) = x +x ln+(x).

To illustrate the good-λ method used by Burkholder and Gundy in [56],we give a direct proof of the left hand side of (2.1) in the caseΦ(x) = xwhich givesc = 1

1200. This proof, which requires virtually no specialized

knowledge, is a slight alteration of the proof in [56], as it uses summationrather than integration. Later, in Theorems4.1and4.2, we present a generalform of the good–λ method, together with inequalities for stopped Brown-ian motion, which imply Theorem2.1.

Denote the integers byZ. Let ak ≥ 0, k ∈ Z, satisfylimk→−∞ ak = 0andak+1 ≤ 2ak. For 0 < r < 1, let J(r) = k : ak+1 > rak. If k is inJ(r), but none ofk + i, for 1 ≤ i ≤ m, are inJ(r), then



ak+i ≤ ak+1(1 + r + r2 + . . . rm−1) <2ak1− r



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which implies


k∈J(r)ak ≥ 1− r

3− r


The k in J(r) are the “good”k. Now nonnegative random variablesXsatisfy

(2.3) EX ≤∑

k∈Z2kP (X ≥ 2k) ≤ 2EX.

If N is a standard normal random variable then, using tables or that thedensity ofN is bounded by 1√

2π, we getP

(|N | < 1


)< 1

12, so for an event


(2.4) P

(|N | ≥ 1

10, A

)≥ 1

6, if P (A) ≥ 1


LetAk = √τ ≥ 2k, k ∈ Z, and letJ = k : P (Ak+1) ≥ P (Ak)4

. The lefthand side of (2.3), and (2.2) with r = 1/2 andak = 2kP (Ak), give

(2.5) E√τ ≤ 5Σk∈J2

kP (Ak).

Since2B∗t ≥ |Ba − Bb|, if 0 ≤ a ≤ b ≤ t, 2B∗

τ ≥ |B22(k+1) − B22k | onAk+1. With (2.4) this gives

P (20B∗τ ≥ 2k) ≥ P (2B∗

τ ≥ 1

102k√3, Ak+1) ≥


6P (Ak), k ∈ J,

which with the right side of (2.3) and (2.5) yields

2E20B∗τ ≥

k∈ZP (20B∗

τ ≥ 2k)2k ≥ 1


k∈JP (Ak)2

k ≥ 1

30E√τ .

As noted in [31], Skorohod and others had before [56] proved the in-equalities (2.1) for the caseΦ(x) = xp, p ≥ 2, and P. W. Millar [120], usingresults of [29], extended these to allp > 1. Also A. A. Novikov [130],working independently of [56], used stochastic calculus to study questionsraised by Millar’s paper and proved some interesting results related to thoseof [56].

The growth condition onΦ involving K of Theorem2.1 is necessaryfor the truth of any of the inequalities in (2.1), in the sense that ifΦ is acontinuous nondecreasing function which does not satisfy this condition foranyK there are stopping timesτ for B such that (either) one ofEΦ(B∗

τ ),EΦ(

√τ ) is finite and the other is infinite.

Next we turn to discrete time martingales. After a very briefhistory ofmartingales before Doob we provide an overview of the work ofthe late six-ties and seventies involving the martingale square function. More generalresults, with proofs and extensive references, may be foundin Burkholder’s


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Wald Memorial Lecture paper [31]. We have tried to be true to the spirit ifnot the letter of the papers we describe.

Paul Levy defined martingales without the name, which was given byDoob. Before martingales were formally defined, several probabilists otherthan Levy, and several analysts, worked on objects that were martingales.For example, R.E.A.C. Paley [138] proved an inequality for the Haar systemwhich is a special case of the results of Burkholder in his 1966 paper. (See[42] for a sharp version of the Paley result.) Although the definition ofmartingales was made by a probabilist, there is no reason it couldn’t havecome from an analyst instead. Sequences of piecewise constant functionson the Lebesgue unit interval which are martingales seem nowa naturalgeneralization of Haar series, and are in a distributional sense all of thediscrete (as described in the next paragraph) martingales.Of course, there’snothing like hindsight to clarify thinking. In another direction Courant,Fredricks, and Lewy in 1928 [70] used ideas related to martingale ideas,although without randomness, to study harmonic functions,in the paperwhich introduced the finite element method for numerical approximation ofsolutions of partial differential equations.

We begin with a description of martingales when time is discrete and therandom variables which compose them are discrete, that is, have a discretedistribution. A sequence of discrete random variablesDi, i ≥ 0, is amartingale difference sequence if eachDi has finite expectation and if forn > 0,

(2.6) E(Dn|Di = ai, 0 ≤ i < n) = 0, if P (Di = ai, 0 ≤ i < n) > 0.

We may think of a gambler as having initial stakeD0 and playing a sequenceof games with the amount won or lost upon playing theith game beingDi.The game the gambler plays at timen may differ depending on her initialstake and her history of wins and losses in the first(n − 1) games, but thegame she will play at timen always has expectation zero. Of course thesequence of partial sums

∑ni=0Di, n ≥ 0, is the martingale corresponding

to the difference sequence. Except for some technicalities, the study ofthese fully discrete martingales is invested with all the difficulties connectedwith the more general discrete time martingales described below.

We start with a probability space(Ω,A, P ), and a sequenceA0,A1, . . .of σ-fields contained inA such thatAn ⊂ An+1, n ≥ 0. A sequenceof random variablesf = fn, n ≥ 0, on Ω is a martingale with re-spect to theseσ-fields if eachfi is Ai measurable and integrable and ifE(di|Ai−1) = 0, i > 0, wheredi = fi − fi−1, d0 = f0.


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The maximal functionf ∗ and the square functionS(f) of a martingalefwith difference sequenced are defined by

f ∗ = supn

|fn|, and S(f) =

( ∞∑





The conditional version of Jensen’s inequality implies that E|fn|p is non-decreasing for1 ≤ p < ∞, so thatlimn→∞(E|fn|p)1/p makes sense. Thislimit is called theLp norm off and denoted‖f‖p and if ‖f‖p < ∞, f issaid to beLp bounded. The celebrated maximal inequalities of Doob assertthat for any martingalef ,

(2.7) Pf ∗ > λ ≤ 1

λ‖f‖1, λ > 0,


(2.8) ‖f ∗‖p ≤p

p− 1‖f‖p, 1 < p < ∞.

The martingale differencesdn, n ≥ 0 of anyL2 bounded martingalefare orthogonal and it follows trivially that‖S(f)‖2 = ‖f‖2, which impliesS(f) < ∞ a.s. (almost surely). D. Austin in his 1966 paper [5] strength-ened this by showing thatS(f) < ∞ a.s. iff is anL1 bounded martingale.Burkholder in [29] in turn strengthened Austin’s result by proving that theoperatorf → S(f) is weak-type(1, 1). That is, he proved that there is auniversal constantC such that iff is anL1 bounded martingale then

(2.9) PS(f) > λ ≤ C

λ‖f‖1, λ > 0.

That (2.9) might be true was informed by both Austin’s result and earlierwork of Burkholder himself, especially his paper [28], Maximal inequalitiesas necessary conditions for almost everywhere convergence. We sketch justthe start of this argument. If (2.9) does not hold for anyC then neither doesit hold for anyC for all martingales having a finite index (time) set andwith initial value (i.e.d0) equal to 0. So there is a sequenceg1, g2, . . . ofsuch martingales satisfying

PS(gi) ≥ yn ≥ Cn


for some positive numbersyn andCn such thatCn → ∞, asn → ∞.However, from these martingales a martingale which has finite L1 normand almost surely infinite square function can be constructed, by puttingindependent copies of the martingaleskni

gnisequentially, whereni, i ≥ 0,

is a sequence of positive integers (with some integers repeated) and thekiare constants. This would contradict Austin’s theorem. Burkholder in [31]gives an elementary proof of (2.9) with C = 3. Later, in [35], he proves the


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inequality withC = 2. In [71] Cox proves the inequality withC = e1/2

and shows that this is best possible.Burkholder also showed in [29] that there are constantscp andCp such

that for any martingale

(2.10) cp‖f‖p ≤ ‖S(f)‖p ≤ Cp‖f‖p, 1 < p < ∞.

This starts to suggest the interchangeability off ∗ andS(f) that appearsin so many of the results of [56]. An example of such interchangeability,which follows quickly from results of [29], comes from combining (2.8)and (2.10) to get the existence of positive constantskp andKp such that forany martingale,

(2.11) kp‖f ∗‖p ≤ ‖S(f)‖p ≤ Kp‖f ∗‖p, 1 < p < ∞.

If f andg are martingales with difference sequencesd ande, respectively,satisfying|ei| ≤ |di| for all i, we say thatg is differentially subordinate tof . In this caseS(g) ≤ S(f) and so (2.10) gives that iff is in Lp forsomep > 1, then so isg. Differential subordination sometimes occurswheng andf are both constructed from the same process or when one isconstructed from the other, for example wheng is a martingale transformof f . Martingale transforms are discrete versions of Ito integrals. If f isa martingale with respect to the sequence ofσ–fields Ai, i ≥ 0, withdifference sequenced, and if v = vi, i ≥ 0 is a sequence of randomvariables with the property thatvi is Ai−1 measurable,i > 0 and v0 isa constant (such a sequence of random variables is said to be predictablerelative to the family ofσ-fields Ai), then the process with differencesequencevidi is called a martingale transform of f and denotedv ∗ f . (Inthe completely discrete case of the gambler described above, if we takethe σ–fields to be those generated by the random variables, thenvn willbe constant on each of the eventsDi = ai, 0 ≤ i < n conditionedon in (2.6). So the transformed gambler still always plays a fair game,derived from the original game by changing the stakes and/orthe gamblerchanging places with her opponent.) This transformation ofthe martingaledifference sequence off may not yield a martingale becausevidi may notbe integrable. However, under the assumption that|vi| ≤ 1 for all i, thisproblem does not arise, and the difference sequencevidi, i ≥ 0 generatesa new martingale. FurthermoreS(v ∗ f) ≤ S(f), so (2.10) implies that theoperationf → v ∗ f is bounded inLp for 1 < p < ∞. The followingtheorem is from [29].

Theorem 2.2. Letf be a martingale on the sequence ofσ-fieldsAi, i ≥ 0with difference sequenced. Letvi, i ≥ 0 be a predictable sequence with


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|vi| ≤ 1 a.s. for alli. Then there are constantsC1 andCp such that

(2.12) P(v ∗ f)∗ > λ ≤ C1

λ‖f‖1, λ > 0


(2.13) ‖v ∗ f‖p ≤ Cp‖f‖p, 1 < p < ∞.

A processY = Yt, t ≥ 0 which has continuous paths is a martingale iffor every positive integern, the discrete time processYn = Y k


, k ≥ 0, isa martingale. The maximal function ofY equalssupt |Yt|, while the analogof the square function, called the quadratic variation ofY and denoted〈Y 〉,can be defined as either the limit of the square functions of the Yn for nincreasing sufficiently fast, or as the quantity that needs to be subtractedfrom the submartingaleY 2 to make it a martingale.〈Y 〉 is also the stoppingtime that results whenY is time changed to a stopped Brownian motion.See [143]. The standard Ito integral with respect to Brownian motion isa continuous martingale. It is interesting that all continuous martingaleson theσ–fields generated by a Brownian motion can be represented as Itointegrals.

As mentioned earlier, it was proved in [56] that if Φ is as in Theorem2.1then for any continuous martingaleY which starts at0,

(2.14) cEΦ(〈Y 〉1/2

)≤ EΦ (Y ∗) ≤ CEΦ

(〈Y 〉1/2


where the constantsc andC are the same as in (2.1). A number of integralinequalities for discrete martingales are proved in [56] using the good–λmethod and other techniques. We confine ourselves here to those relatingintegrals of the maximal and the square function, but there are numerousother operators considered in [56]. The next two theorems from [56] giveversions of (2.14) for large classes of martingales for which the jump size,that is the distributions of thedi, is controlled. The martingales to whichthe next theorem applies include stopped random walks wherethe jumpsare iid with mean zero and finite variance. In the following two theoremsfis a martingale with difference sequenced with respect to the sigma fieldsAi as above.

Theorem 2.3. SupposeE(d2i |Ai−1) ≤ M [E(|di||Ai−1)]2, i > 0, for a posi-

tive constantM . Then ifΦ andK are as Theorem 2.1 there exist constantsc andC which depend only onK andM such that

(2.15) cEΦ(f ∗) ≤ EΦ((S(f)) ≤ CEΦ(f ∗).

Another result from [56] is the following.8

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Theorem 2.4. Suppose there is a numberM such that|di| ≤ M , i ≥ 0, andthatΦ andK are as in Theorem2.1. Then there is a constantc dependingonly onK such that

EΦ(S(f)) ≤ cEΦ(f ∗) + cΦ(M)


EΦ(f ∗) ≤ cEΦ(S(f) + cΦ(M).

Remark 2.2. In particular, these inequalities imply that for martingaleswith uniformly bounded difference sequences if one ofEΦ(f ∗) orEΦ(S(f))is finite then the other is, which is often enough in applications.

Old examples of Marcenkeiwicz and Zygmund, noted in [56], show thatfor every p ∈ (0, 1), there are martingales for which‖f ∗‖p is finite but‖S(f)‖p is infinite. Similar examples are given showing that for every p ∈(0, 1) there are martingales for which‖S(f)‖p is finite but‖f ∗‖p is infinite.These examples show that neither side of (2.11) extends to0 < p < 1.

In [75], (2.11) was extended top = 1 using a decomposition which trimsthe big jumps from a martingale, leaving a martingale with controllablejumps, which was handled with a method from [56]. See Garsia [93] fora very different proof. Later, Burkholder, Davis and Gundy [55] used thisdecomposition and techniques related to the good–λ method to prove thatfor every functionΦ as in Theorem2.1 which is also convex, there areconstantsc andC, which depend only onK, such that for every martingale,

(2.16) cEΦ(f ∗) ≤ EΦ(S(f)) ≤ CEΦ(f ∗).

See Garsia [94] and [95] for a different approach to some of the inequalitiesof [55] and for related martingale inequalities.


We now turn to applications of (2.14) and the good–λ method to analysis,beginning by quoting the first seven lines of the Burkholder,Gundy andSilverstein paper [59] “A maximal function characterization of the classHp.”

“Hardy and Littlewood have shown [[104]; also page 278 of vol. 1 ofZygmund’s book [167]] that if F (z) is analytic in the unit discD = z ∈C : |z| < 1, and ifΩσ(θ) is the Stoltz domain given by the interior of thesmallest convex set containing the discz ∈ C : |z| < σ and the pointeiθ,then

(3.1)∫ 2π



|ReF (z)|p dθ ≤ Cσ,p sup0<r<1

∫ 2π


|F (reiθ)|pdθ9

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for all p > 0, 0 < σ < 1. In this paper we prove the converse inequalitywhich, together with the above theorem of Hardy and Littlewood, gives amaximal function characterization of the Hardy classHp.”

The discussion of [59] we now provide is essentially a partial summaryof Burkholder’s survey paper [37], included in this volume.

We let G(z) = u(z) + iv(z), whereG is continuous in|z| ≤ 1 andanalytic in |z| < 1. We will refer to u and v as “conjugate” harmonicfunctions. The boundary function ofu is denoted byU , whereU(eiθ) =u(eiθ), with a similar notation forV . We assume thatu(0) = v(0) = 0.Under this assumptionu andv determine each other, but while this is easyto show, it is difficult to say much about many aspects of the connectionbetweenu andv. It is, however, easy to show that the (squares of the)L2

norms ofU andV are the same, that is∫ 2π

0|U(eiθ)|2 dθ =

∫ 2π

0|V (eiθ)|2 dθ.

While equality need not hold if the exponent 2 is replaced by any otherpositive numberp, M. Riesz showed that forp > 1 the Lp norm of Vcannot be more than a constantCp times theLp norm ofU . Forp = 1 eventhis does not hold, but Kolmogorov’s weak type inequality provides somecontrol ofV by theL1 norm ofU .

Before we state the Burkholder-Gundy-Silverstein result from which theconverse of (3.1) is derived, we recall that for any functionf in the unitdisc, the function

Nσf(θ) = sup|f(z)| : z ∈ Ωσ(θ)is called the nontangential maximal function off .

The following theorem, proved in [59], immediately implies the appro-priate, that is, with F(0)=0, converse of (3.1) asserted in the statementquoted above from [59].

Theorem 3.1. Let u and v be conjugate harmonic functions withu(0) =v(0) = 0. LetΦ andK be as in Theorem2.1. There are positive constantscK,σ andCK,σ depending onlyK andσ such that



∫ 2π


Φ (Nσu(θ)) dθ ≤∫ 2π


Φ (Nσv(θ)) dθ ≤ CK,σ

∫ 2π


Φ (Nσu(θ)) dθ.

As pointed out by Burkholder in [37], these inequalities in the casesΦ(x) = xp, p > 0, may be viewed as an extension of the Riesz inequal-ities to0 < p < ∞.

The proof of this theorem uses (2.14) applied to martingales obtained bycomposing harmonic functions with Brownian motion. More precisely, werecall that ifB is Brownian motion inD andτ denotes the first timeB hitsthe unit circle, the processu(Bt∧τ ) is a martingale wheneveru is harmonic


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in the open unit disc and continuous in its closure. The maximal function ofthis martingale, denoted byu∗, is called the Brownian maximal function ofu. If we continue with the normalizationu(0) = 0, then by the Ito formula,the quadratic variation of this martingale is

(3.3) 〈u〉t =∫ t∧τ


|∇(Bs)|2 ds.

This quantity is called the Brownian square function ofu. A key observa-tion is that wheneveru andv are conjugate harmonic functions as above,then by the Cauchy–Riemann equations|∇u| = |∇v| and henceu andvhave the same Brownian square functions. Thus the followingtheorem isan immediate consequence of (2.14).

Theorem 3.2. Letu andv be conjugate harmonic functions. LetΦ be as inthe statement of Theorem2.1. There are constantsc andC depending onlyonK such that

(3.4) cEΦ(u∗) ≤ EΦ(v∗) ≤ CEΦ(u∗).

This is a Brownian version of (3.2). This theorem together with the fol-lowing very surprising and beautiful result from [59] implies Theorem3.1.

Theorem 3.3. Let u be a harmonic function in the unit disc. There areconstantscσ andCσ depending only onσ such that

(3.5) cσmθ : Nσu(θ) > λ ≤ Pu∗ > λ ≤ Cσmθ : Nσu(θ) > λfor all λ > 0. Here,m denotes the Lebesgue measure on the circle.

From this distribution inequality and (3.4), it follows that forΦ as inTheorem2.1,

(3.6)∫ 2π


Φ (Nσu(θ)) dθ ≈ EΦ(u∗) ≈ EΦ(v∗) ≈∫ 2π


Φ (Nσv(θ)) dθ

with constants depending only onσ andK, and Theorem3.1follows. Herethe middle≈ is notation for (3.4) and the first and last≈ follow from (3.6).

These inequalities withΦ(x) = xp for any0 < p < ∞ give


∫ 2π


|F (reiθ)|p dθ ≤ 2p∫ 2π


|Nσu(θ)|p dθ +∫ 2π


|Nσv(θ)|p dθ

≤ Cp,σ

∫ 2π


|Nσu(θ)|p dθ,

and this proves the converse of (3.1).The paper [59] also proves versions of the above inequalities for the upper

half-spaceIR2+. It is hard to overstate the influence of this paper, in both the

probabilistic and analytic theory of Hardy spaces, in the 40years since its11

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publication. It would be virtually impossible to review here the literaturethat has its roots at least partially in [59], and we do not make the attempt.This paper was followed by the seminal paper of C. Fefferman and Stein[90], and the theory ofHp spaces (which had already been a hot area ofresearch for many analysts) exploded from there. For an account of Hp

theory and its connections to other subjects, see Stein [153], Grafakos [98]and the literature referenced therein.


We begin by showing how to prove Theorem2.1using the good-λmethod.This involves proving distribution inequalities for the random variablesτ 1/2

andB∗τ which, by a theorem that embodies the good-λmethod, immediately

establish Theorem2.1. We first give the distribution inequalities and thenstate the theorem which generates Theorem2.1from them. The inequalitiesof the following theorem are from [31]. Although perhaps more “elegant”and “cleaner” than their original formulation in [56], they may at first seemsomewhat more mysterious.

Theorem 4.1. For all 0 < ε < 1, δ > 1 andλ > 0,

(4.1) PB∗τ > δλ, τ 1/2 ≤ ελ ≤ ε2

(δ − 1)2PB∗

τ > λ


(4.2) Pτ 1/2 > δλ,B∗τ ≤ ελ ≤ ε2

(δ2 − 1)Pτ 1/2 > λ.

The following version of the good–λ method from [31], valid even formeasure spaces of infinite measure, together with the inequalities just above,establishes Theorem2.1.

Theorem 4.2. LetΦ be as in the statement of Theorem2.1. Suppose thatfandg are nonnegative functions on a measure space(Ω,A, µ), andδ > 1,0 < ε < 1, and0 < γ < 1 are real numbers such that

(4.3) µg > δλ, f ≤ ελ ≤ γµg > λ,for everyλ > 0. Letρ andν be real numbers satisfying

Φ(δλ) ≤ ρΦ(λ) and Φ(ε−1λ) ≤ νΦ(λ)

for everyλ > 0. Finally, suppose that

(4.4) ργ < 1 and that∫


Φ(min1, g)dµ < ∞.

Then ∫


Φ(g)dµ ≤ ρν

1− ργ




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We note that in a space of finite measure, which is the case dealt with byBurkholder and Gundy in [56], the assumption

∫ΩΦ(min1, g)dµ < ∞

is not needed, as it always holds. For the general case it is known that thisassumption is needed for the validity of the theorem; see [113] and [124].

Let us briefly outline the proof of this theorem following [31]. First notethat

µg > δλ ≤ µg > δλ, f ≤ ελ+ µf > ǫλ(4.5)

≤ γµg > λ+ µf > ǫλ.Multiplying by Φ′(λ) and integrating inλ gives




)dµ ≤ γ


Φ(g) dµ+






But ∫


Φ(g) dµ =



)dµ ≤ ρ




This together with (4.4) implies the theorem. (For full details, see [31].)The fact that both ε2

(δ−1)2and ε2

(δ2−1)in (4.1) and (4.2) go to zero asε goes

to zero for any fixedδ is crucial in deriving Theorem2.1from Theorem4.2.In the casesΦ(x) = xp, 0 < p < ∞, which give the inequalities

(4.7) ap‖τ 1/2‖p ≤ ‖B∗τ‖p ≤ Ap‖τ 1/2‖p,

the better the decay in (4.1) and (4.2), as ε goes to zero, the better theinformation obtained from Theorem4.1 on the constantsAp andap andthe wider the applications to many other functionals involving B∗

τ andτ .In [33], Burkholder uses the good-λ method to prove inequalities compar-ing B∗

τ andτ whereB is Brownian motion inIRn, n ≥ 1; see also [77].It follows from these argument that the optimal bounds on theright hand

sides of (4.1) and (4.2) areC1 exp(− (δ−1)2


)andC2 exp



), re-

spectively, whereC1, C2 andC3 are constants independent ofδ andε. Anexplicit value ofC3 can also be given. (It should be noted that the proofsin [33] produce quantities which are denoted byRn(δ, ǫ) andLn(δ, ǫ) inplace of the exponentials. An explicit computation for the casen = 1 pre-sented here provides the expressions given above; see [12] for details.) Theproofs in [33] not only provide this “gaussian” decay, which is best possi-ble, but are extremely elegant and fairly simple, crystalizing, perhaps morethan previous proofs, that what matters for the good-λ method in the prob-abilistic setting is scaling and the strong Markov property. The argumentsin [33] can be extended to other functionals of Brownian motion such asthe maximal local time and good–λ method proofs can be given of inequal-ities of Barlow and Yor [18, 19] which compare the norms of maximal localtime to maximal functions and square functions, including various ratios of


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these quantities. For more on this, see [12], [20], [76], [143], and referencestherein.

Let us also mention here that the paper [33] (see also [34]) contains sev-eral results which have had a profound influence on probabilistic potentialtheory. These include characterizations of Hardy spaces indomains of Eu-clidean space in terms of exit times of Brownian motion from the domains,and the computation of the exact exponentp for which the exit timeτ forBrownian motion from an infinite cone inIRn has finitep-moment. Thisexponent is given in terms of zeros of confluent hypergeometric functions.This led to many results on the exact growth (decay) of harmonic functions(and harmonic measure) on unbounded regions inIRn and other applicationsto “harmonic majorization” problems; see for example [88], [89]. There arealso numerous other applications of these ideas to conditioned Brownianmotion and stable processes in more general cone-type regions. The exactexponent of integrability of the exit time of these processes is related to theeigenvalues of the Laplace–Beltrami operator on the regionof the spherewhich generates the cone. This also leads to connections with heat kernelsfor “singular” manifolds as in Cheeger [65]. (See [73], [74], [7], [13], andreferences therein.)

Motivated by their work on martingales in [56], Burkholder and Gundygave in [57] the first application of the good-λmethod which did not involveprobability in either the application of the method or the theorem proved.Denote the upper half-space byIRn+1

+ = (x, y) : x ∈ IRn, y > 0 and thecone with vertex atx and apertureα (for anyα > 0) by Γα(x) = (x, y) ∈IRn+1

+ : |x − x| < αy. For any harmonic functionu defined onIRn+1+ ,

consider its nontangential maximal function (the upper half plane analogueof the function in (3))

Nαu(x) = sup(x,y)∈Γα(x)

|u(x, y)|

and its Lusin area function

Aαu(x) =



y1−n|∇u(x, y)|2dx dy)1/2


These are harmonic function analogues ofY ∗ and〈Y 〉1/2 for martingales.They have played a fundamental role in the development of harmonic anal-ysis for the past seventy-five years. For an account of some ofthese applica-tions; see Stein [149, 150]. Because of the papers of Burkholder and Gundy[57] and Burkholder, Gundy and Silverstein [59] (already described above),the area and nontangental maximal functions and their use inLittlewood–Paley theory have been inextricably connected to martingales and Brown-ian motion for the past 35-40 years. In addition to the expository papers of


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Burkholder in this volume on this subject, we refer the reader to Bass [21],Durrett [87] and Gundy [99] and Varopoulos [159]. The following versionfor the operatorsAα andNα of Theorem2.1 is proved in [57].

Theorem 4.3. LetΦ be as in Theorem2.1. There is a constantC1 depend-ing onα, n andK such that



Φ(Aαu(x))dx ≤ C1



If the left hand side is finite, thenlimy→∞ u(x, y) exists and does not dependon x. Ifu is normalized so that this limit is zero then there is a constantC2

also depending onα, n andK such that



Φ(Nαu(x))dx ≤ C2



The good-λ inequalities proved in [57] can be formulated as in Theorem4.1as follows (m denotes the Lebesgue measure inIRn).

Theorem 4.4. Let 0 < β < α. There is a constantγ > 1 and constantsC1 andC2 depending only onα, β andn such that for all0 < ǫ < 1 andλ > 0,(4.10)mx ∈ IRn : Nβu(x) > γλ,Aαu(x) ≤ ελ ≤ C1 ε

2mx ∈ IRn : Nβu(x) > λand(4.11)mx ∈ IRn : Aβu(x) > γλ,Nαu(x) ≤ ελ ≤ C2 ε

2mx ∈ IRn : Aβu(x) > λ.Because of the “local” nature of the proofs of these inequalities, their

proofs extends to measures other than Lebesgue measure which have den-sities that belong to the MuckenhoupA∞ class. For this, the reader can seeGundy and Wheeden [100] and Burkholder [36].

There are important applications of the good-λ method to many other op-erators of fundamental importance in analysis and its applications such asthe the Hardy–Littlewood maximal function and Calderon–Zygmund sin-gular integrals (Coifman [63] and Coifman-Fefferman [64]), to parabolic(heat equation) versions ofAα andNα (Calderon-Torchisky [62]) as wellas versions of these in the setting of Lipshitz domains and elliptic operators(Dahlberg [78] and Dahlberg-Jerison-Kenig [79]). For more on applica-tions and further literature, see Garnett [92], Kenig [114], Stein [148] andTorchisky [158].

As in the case of martingales, the better the decay of the quantities on theright sides of (4.10) and (4.11) asε goes to zero, the wider the applications.The exponentε2 was improved toεk for any positive integerk by R. Feffer-man, Gundy, Silverstein and Stein [91] and by Murai and Uchiyma [123] to


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exponentialexp (−C/ε) decay. The full subgaussianexp (−C/ε2) decayas in the case of the martingale inequalities is proved in [12].

The original good-λ inequalities in [57] imply the result of Privalov [142],Marcinkiewicz and Zygmund [116], Spencer [147], Calderon [60], [61]and Stein [148] asserting that, except for sets of Lebesgue measure zero,the nontangential maximal functions and the Lusin area function are fi-nite or infinite on the same sets and that on the sets where these are fi-nite, the harmonic function has nontangential boundary limits; see [57],§3. In [12], the good-λ gaussian decay inequalities are explored to prove amore quantitative version of these results which involve the law of the iter-ated logarithm. The philosophy pioneered by Burkholder andGundy, andBurkholder, Gundy and Silverstein, that these operators should be modeledafter those for martingales with continuous paths and henceafter stoppedBrownian motion, drives the results presented in [12].

The paper [58] also studies boundary behavior of harmonic functionsin the upper half space. Ifu is a harmonic function in the upper half-spaceIRn+1

+ andB is Brownian motion inIRn+1+ and τ is the first time it

leaves the upper half-space, then as beforeu(Bt∧τ ) is a martingale withBrownian maximal functionu∗ and Brownian square function〈u〉. In [58],these quantities are used, in combination with techniques for (Doob’s) con-ditioned Brownian motion, to prove that some (but not all) ofthe resultsof Privalov, Marcinkiewicz-Zygmund, Spencer, Calderon and Stein, can beobtained from the corresponding results for martingales. See [87] for moreon this. The techniques in [58] have been used by other authors in differ-ent settings, see for example Brossard [23, 24] and Brossard and Chevelier[25, 26, 27].


In the early eighties Burkholder turned his attention to sharp martingaleinequalities and their extensions to martingales taking values in Banachspaces. The Banach space setting is discussed in Gilles Pisier’s commen-tary in this volume. In this section we discuss sharp inequalities and pointout some of their implications in areas which are of current interest to manyresearchers. In his seminal paper [41], Burkholder proves the followingtheorem.

Theorem 5.1. Let f = fn;n ≥ 0 be a martingale with difference se-quenced = dn, n ≥ 0. Suppose1 < p < ∞ and let p∗ denote themaximum ofp andq where 1

p+ 1

q= 1. If g is a martingale transform off

by a real predicable sequencev uniformly bounded in absolute value by 1,then

(5.1) ‖g‖p ≤ (p∗ − 1)‖f‖p16

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and the constant(p∗ − 1) is best possible. Furthermore, equality holds ifand only ifp = 2 and

∑∞k=0 v


2k =

∑∞k=0 d

2k, almost surely.

There are many other sharp martingale transform inequalities proved in[41], including the following weak-type inequality.

Theorem 5.2. Let1 ≤ p ≤ 2 and letf andg be as in Theorem5.1. Then

(5.2) supλ>0

λp Pg∗ > λ ≤ 2

Γ(p+ 1)‖f‖pp.

The constant 2Γ(p+1)

is best possible. Furthermore, strict inequality holds if0 < ‖f‖p < ∞ and1 < p < 2, but equality can hold ifp = 1 or 2.

The casep = 1 (with sharp constant 2) was proved in [35] and is nottoo difficult. On the other hand, the proofs of Theorem5.1 and Theorem5.2 (for the case when1 < p ≤ 2) are deep and difficult. The proof ofTheorem5.1(which after some preliminary work reduces to the case whenthe predicable sequencevk ∈ −1, 1) rests on solving the nonlinearpartial differential equation

(5.3) (p− 1)[yFy − xFx]Fyy − [(p− 1)Fy − xFxy]2 + x2FxxFyy = 0

for F nonconstant and satisfying other conditions on a suitable domain ofIR2. Solving this equation leads to a system of five nonlinear differential in-equalities with boundary conditions. From this system, a functionu(x, y, t)is constructed in the domain

Ω = (x, y, t) ∈ IR3 :∣∣x− y


∣∣p < t

with certain convexity properties from which, using the techniques of [38],Burkholder proves that

(5.4) u(0, 0, 1)‖gn‖pp ≤ ‖fn‖ppfor 1 < p ≤ 2 and shows thatu(0, 0, 1) = (p − 1)p. This and duality givethe bound(p∗ − 1) in (5.1). (The research announcement in [39] contains anice summary of the methods used in [41].)

Even today, the proofs in [41] seem extremely intricate. That Burkholderwas able show that these PDE’s have a solution with the important proper-ties needed for the martingale inequalities is impressive.A nice explana-tion of Burkholder’s PDE and other ideas in [41] in terms of the theory ofBellman functions was subsequently given by F. Nazarov, S. Treil and A.Volberg. For this connection and some of the now very extensive literatureon this subject, we refer the reader to [125, 126, 127, 162]. Quoting from[126]: “It is really amazing that Burkholder was able to solve these PDEs:they are really complicated.”


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The Bellman function techniques have become a powerful toolto studysharp inequalities for many operators of great importance in harmonic anal-ysis and its applications to PDE’s and quasiconformal mappings. In addi-tion to the above already cited papers, see [118, 119, 128, 145, 146, 144,139, 160].

In a series of papers following [41], which included many applicationsto various other sharp inequalities for discreet martingales and stochasticintegrals, Burkholder simplified the proofs in [41] considerably by givingexplicit expressions for his “magical” functions. In the Bellman functionlanguage of Nazarov and Volberg, Burkholder gives an explicit expressionfor the “true” Bellman function of the above PDE. Quoting from [125], “themost amazing thing is that the true Bellman function is known! This fan-tastic achievement belongs to Burkholder.” Explicit solutions to Bellmanproblems that arise in many of the applications to harmonic analysis areoften extremely challenging problems. For more on this, see[118], [119],[160], and especially the recent paper [161] which contains a nice treat-ment, based on Monge-Ampere equation, on how to solve many Bellmanequations, including Burkholder’s.

We now recall the following generalization of Theorem5.1, which isproved by Burkholder in [46] using the explicit form of his functionU .

Theorem 5.3. LetH be a (real or complex) Hilbert space. Forx ∈ H, let|x| denote its norm. Letf = fn∞n=0 andg = gn∞n=0 be twoH-valuedmartingales on the same filtration with martingale difference sequencesdande, respectively, and satisfying|ek| ≤ |dk| pointwise for allk ≥ 0. Then,withp andp∗ as in Theorem5.1, ‖g‖p ≤ (p∗−1)‖f‖p. The constant(p∗−1)is best possible and equality holds (in the case0 < ‖f‖p < ∞) if and onlyif p = 2 and|ek| = |dk| almost surely, for allk ≥ 0.

To prove this inequality, Burkholder considers the functionV : H×H →IR defined by

(5.5) V (z, w) = |w|p − (p∗ − 1)p|z|p.

The goal is then to show thatEV (fn, gn) ≤ 0. Burkholder then introducesthe function

(5.6) U(z, w) = αp (|w| − (p∗ − 1)|z|) (|z| + |w|)p−1


αp = p

(1− 1




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and proves that this function satisfies the following properties:

V (z, w) ≤ U(z, w) for all w, z ∈ H,(5.7)

EU(fn, gn) ≤ EU(fn−1, gn−1), n ≥ 1,(5.8)

EU(f0, g0) ≤ 0.(5.9)

There have been many applications of these ideas to martingales, har-monic functions (including differential subordination ofharmonic func-tions) and singular integrals. Many of these results are dueto Burkholderhimself; see for example his work in [42, 43, 44, 45, 47, 48, 49, 50, 51, 52,54]. Some other applications (including many recent ones) arecontained in[66, 67, 68, 69, 102, 103, 112, 133, 134, 135, 136, 137, 131, 132, 154, 163,164, 165, 166].

5.1. The (p∗−1) constant in analysis. No sooner had Burkholder’s paper[41] appeared identifying theLp norm of martingale transforms as(p∗ −1), than the connection (at least superficially at first) to a conjecture of T.Iwaniec [106] concerning theLp norm of the Beurling–Ahlfors operatorwas noticed by several researchers. The Beurling–Ahlfors operator is asingular integral operator (Fourier multiplier) on the complex planeC (orIR2) defined onLp(C) ∩ L2(C), 1 < p < ∞, by(5.10)

Bf(z) = −1




(z − w)2dm(w), Bf(ξ) =


|ξ|2 f(ξ), ξ 6= 0 ∈ C.

This operator (which incidentally can be written in terms ofsecond orderRiesz transforms in the plane asB = R2

2 − R21 + 2iR1R2) is of funda-

mental importance in several areas of mathematics including PDE and thegeometry of quasiconformal mappings [3, 4, 80, 106, 107, 108, 110, 139].As a Calderon–Zygmund singular integral, it is bounded onLp(C), for1 < p < ∞. The computation of its operator norm,‖B‖p, has been an openproblem for almost thirty years. In [115], Lehto showed that‖B‖p ≥ p∗−1.Inspired in part by the celebrated Gehring–Reich conjecture [97] on the areadistortion of qasiconformal mappings in the plane (proved by K. Astala [3]),T. Iwaniec conjectured in [106] that ‖B‖p = p∗ − 1. For some of the con-nections to quasiconformal mappings, see K. Astala, T. Iwanienc and G.Martin [4].

Although theLp–boundedness of very general singular integrals and Fouriermultiplier operators can be proved using martingale transforms (see for ex-ample Burkholder [40] and McConnell [117]), obtaining precise informa-tion on their norms requires more exact representations of the operatorsin terms of martingales. In the groundbreaking paper [101], Gundy and


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Varopoulos gave a representation for Riesz transforms in terms of stochas-tic integrals arising from composing the harmonic extension of the functionf with Brownian motion in the upper half-space (as in§3 above). TheBurkholder results in [41] and the Gundy–Varopoulos representation pro-vided hope that the Iwaniec conjecture could be derived fromBurkholder’stheorem [41]. Unfortunately, to implement this approach certain stochasticintegral versions of Burkholder’s inequalities were needed and these did notfollow, in any direct way, from the results in [41]. Hence, those interestedin this approach had to wait. The wait was over when Burkholder gave theexplicit expression for his functionU , which together with the Ito formulaleads to the desired sharp stochastic integral inequalities that arise whenapplying the Gundy–Varopoulos formula to the Beurling-Ahlfors operator;see [14], [15], [16], [166]. This approach was employed in [14] to show that‖Bf‖p ≤ 4(p∗ − 1)‖f‖p. While not the desired bound, this paper providedthe first explicit bound for‖B‖p. In [129], Nazarov and Volberg improvedthis bound to2(p∗−1) by proving a Littlewood-Paley inequality using Bell-man functions. However, the construction of their Bellman function (forwhich no explicit expression is known as of now) depends on Burkholder’ssharp inequality for Haar martingales. In [11], the proof in [14] is redoneusing the heat kernel in place of the Poisson kernel to obtainthe2(p∗ − 1)bound. Both the stochastic integral techniques in [11] and [14], and theNazarov-Volberg Bellman approach [129], have had many other applica-tions, including applications to bounds for the Beurling-Ahlfors operator inseveral dimensions (first studied in [80] and [109]) and Riesz transforms forthe Ornstein-Uhlenbeck process. Some of these applications are containedin [1, 2, 8, 9, 10, 11, 81, 82, 84, 85, 83, 96, 105]. The best bound for‖B‖pas of now, proved in [9], is 1.575(p∗ − 1). This bound is obtained by animprovement of Burkholder’s(p∗ − 1) inequality for complex valued mar-tingales which have some additional orthogonality structure between its realand imaginary parts. The explicit expression of the Burkholder functionUis crucial for this proof.

In [14] and [15] the techniques of Burkholder are adapted to show that formartingales under differential subordination and orthogonality, the Burkholderconstant(p∗ − 1) can be replaced by the Pichorides [141] Hilbert trans-form constantcot( π

2p∗). From this and the Gundy–Varopoulos stochastic

representation, it follows that for the Riesz transforms‖Rj‖p ≤ cot( π2p∗

),j = 1, 2, . . . n. This result, and other good estimates of theLp-norms ofsingular integral operators with odd kernels, can also be obtained by theclassical method of rotations; see [86], [110], [140], and especially [110]where it is shown that in fact‖Rj‖p = cot( π

2p∗). It is also interesting to note


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here that the Beurling-Ahlfors operator plays the role of the Hilbert trans-form in the so-called complex method of rotation and this canalso be useto obtain estimates of theLp-norms of certain singular integral operatorswith even kernels in terms of‖B‖p. We refer the reader to [110] where thistechnique was introduced; see also, [111].

In the recent paper [96], Geiss, Mongomery-Smith and Saksman com-bined the estimates in [11, 129] and the arguments used by Bourgain in [22]which showed that Burkholder’s UMD property is equivalent to the bound-edness of the Hilbert transform, to prove that theLp(IRn) operator norm of2RjRk, j 6= k, is (p∗ − 1). That is,‖2RjRk‖p = (p∗ − 1), j 6= k. Thisbeautiful and surprising result gives the first example of a singular integralwhoseLp norm is exactly that of martingale transforms. In particular, inthe plane the two “components” of the Beurling–Ahlfors operatorB satisfy‖R2

2−R21‖p = (p∗−1) and‖2R1R2‖p = (p∗−1). The proof in [96] adapts

to other combinations ofRj andRk; see for example [161].

5.2. Rank-one convexity and quasiconvexity. It is well known ([4]) thatproving‖Bf‖p ≤ (p∗−1)‖f‖p for all f ∈ Lp(C), 1 < p < ∞, is equivalentto proving

(5.11) ‖∂f‖p ≤ (p∗ − 1)‖∂f‖p, 1 < p < ∞,

for all smooth functionsf of compact support (f ∈ C∞0 (C)) where (with

z = x+ iy)

(5.12) ∂ =


∂x− i



)and ∂ =


∂x+ i




are the Cauchy-Riemann operators in the complex plane. Viewed in termsof the functionV in (5.5), (5.11) is the same as proving that



V (∂f, ∂f)dm(z) ≤ 0, f ∈ C∞0 (C).

Since by Burkholder (5.7), V (z, w) ≤ U(z, w) for all w, z ∈ C, it is naturalto conjecture that



U(∂f, ∂f)dm(z) ≤ 0, f ∈ C∞0 (C).

This conjecture, which arose from the work in [14], is written down asa question (Question 1) in [10]. The conjectured inequality (5.14) andthe convexity properties (listed below) satisfied by the function U lead toanother unexpected connection and application of Burkholder’s powerfulideas.

Denote byMn×m the set of alln × m matrices with real entries. ThefunctionΨ : Mn×m → IR is said to be rank-one convex if for eachA,B ∈


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Mn×m with rankB = 1, the function

(5.15) h(t) = Ψ(A+ tB), t ∈ IR

is convex. The function is said to be quasiconvex if it is locally integrableand for eachA ∈ Mn×m, bounded domainΩ ⊂ IRn and each compactlysupported Lipschitz functionf : Ω → IRm we have

(5.16) Ψ(A) ≤ 1



Ψ (A+Df(x)) dx.

whereDf is the Jacobian matrix off .These properties arise in many problems in the calculus of variations, es-

pecially in efforts to extend the so called “direct method” techniques fromconvex energy functionals to nonconvex. They were introduced by C.B.Morrey (see [122]) and further developed by J. Ball [6]. For more (muchmore) on the relationship between these properties and their consequencesin the direct method of the calculus of variations, we refer to [72]. If n = 1or m = 1, thenΨ is quasiconvex or rank one convex if and only if it isconvex. Ifm ≥ 2 and andn ≥ 2, then convexity⇒ quasiconvexity⇒rank-one convexity. (See [72] where the notion of polyconvexity which lies“between” convexity and quasiconvexity is also discussed.) In 1952, Mor-rey [121] conjectured that rank-one convexity does not imply quasiconvex-ity when bothm andn are at least 2. In 1992,Sverak [156] proved thatMorrey’s conjecture is correct ifm ≥ 3 andn ≥ 2. The casesm = 2 andn ≥ 2 remains open. One of the difficulties with these notions of convex-ity is that it is in general very difficult to construct nontrivial, interesting,examples of such functions.

Enter Burkholder’s functionU . It is proved in [46] that for allz, w, h, k ∈C with |k| ≤ |h|, the functiont → U(z + th, w + tk) is concave inIR , orequivalently thatt → −U(z + th, w + tk) is convex inIR . The concavityproperty oft → U(z+th, w+tk) is crucial in the proof of the properties in(5.7)–(5.8). Properly interpreted, this convexity property ofU is equivalentto rank-one convexity. Define the functionΓ: M2×2 → C× C by


(a bc d

)= (z, w),

wherez = (a+d)+i(c−b) andw = (a−d)+i(c+b) and setΨU = −U Γ.It follows easily from the convexity property oft → −U(z + th, w + tk),for z, w, h, k ∈ C with |k| ≤ |h|, that the functionΨU is rank-one convex.(See [10] for full details.) Now, iff = u+ iv ∈ C∞

0 (C), then

(5.17) Df =

(ux uy

vx vy



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(5.18) ΨU (Df) = −U(∂f, ∂f


Thus quasiconvexity ofΨU (at0 ∈ IR2×2) is equivalent to

(5.19) 0 ≤ −∫

supp fU(∂f, ∂f)dm(z),

which is equivalent to (5.14). Thus the question: Is Burkholder’s functionU also quasiconvex in the sense thatΨU is quasiconvex? If the answer is“yes”, then the Iwaniec 1982 conjecture follows. If the answer is “no” thenthe Morrey 1952 conjecture follows for the important casen = m = 2.

The article by A. Baernstein and Montgomery-Smith [17] presents var-ious connections between the functionU and another functionL used byBurkholder to prove sharp weak–type inequalities for martingales and har-monic functions under the assumption of differential subordination, [47,p. 20]. This functionL was subsequently independently rediscovered bySverak in [157]. For more on these connections, we refer the reader to [4,pp. 518-523], [108], [155, 156, 157] and [161].

Finally, we give a brief account of recent developments in which quasi-conformal mappings (also nonlinear hyperelasticy) and Burkholder’s theoryon sharp martingale inequalities share common problems of compelling in-terest. (We refer the reader to [108] and [4] for details.) By definition,a weakly differentiable mappingf : Ω → IRn in a domainΩ ⊂ IRn

(also referred to as hyperelastic deformation) is said to beK-quasiregular,1 ≤ K < ∞, if its Jacobian matrixDf(x) ∈ Mn×n (deformation gradient)satisfies the distortion inequality

(5.20) |Df(x)|n 6 K detDf(x), where |Df(x)| = max|v|=1


TheLp-integrability of the derivatives ofK-quasiregular mappings relieson a general inequality which is opposite to the distortion inequality in anaverage sense. More precisely,



|DF (x)|n − K detDF (x) · |DF (x)|p−n dx > 0,

for all mappingsF ∈ W1,p(IRn, IRn) with the Sobolev exponentsp in acertain intervalα(n,K) < p < β(n,K), whereα(n,K) < n < β(n,K).Iwaniec ([108]) conjectured that the largest such interval is:

(5.22) α(n,K) =nK

K + 1< p <


K − 1= β(n,K).

Iwaniec (see again [4, pp. 518-523] and [108]) then observed that in di-mensionn = 2 the integrand in (5.21) is none other than the Burkholder’sfunctionU (modulo constant factor), thus rank-one convex for all exponents


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p in (5.22). Inspired by Burkholder’s results he proved, in every dimensionn > 2, that (5.22) defines precisely the range of the exponentsp for whichthe integrand in (5.21) is rank-one convex; see [108]. Now, it may verywell be that Iwaniec’sn-dimensional analogue of Burkholder’s integral isalso quasiconvex and, conjecturally, that (5.21) holds for allp in the range(5.22). This would give a completion of theLp-theory of quasiregular map-pings in space.

While it is not clear at this point that martingale techniques will pro-duce the sharp bound(p∗ − 1) for ‖B‖p, it seems likely that the solutionto the Iwaniec conjecture will somehow involve the Burkholder functionU . Also, in higher dimensions it is plausible that Burkholder’s vision andhis sharp martingale inequalities will contribute the creation of a viableLp-theory of quasiregular mappings with far reaching applications to geometricfunction theory inIRn and, in particular, mathematical models of nonlinearhyperelasticity. What is certainly clear is that as of now all approaches(stochastic integrals and Bellman functions) which have produced concretebounds close to the conjectured bound for‖B‖p rest on the fundamentalideas of Burkholder originally conceived to prove sharp martingale inequal-ities. These ideas have led to deep and surprising connections in areas ofanalysis and PDE’s where this and other singular integrals operators andmaximal functions play an important role and which on the surface seemfar removed from martingales. More than twenty five years after the publi-cation of [41], the techniques and ideas in this paper are still being exploredby many mathematicians in different fields. This is indeed a landmark pa-per, one of many in Burkholder’s list of publications.


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E-mail address: [email protected]


E-mail address: [email protected]