We study the uniqueness of minimal submanifolds and the stability of the mean curvature flow in several well-known model spaces of manifolds of special holonomy. These include the Stenzel metric on the cotangent bundle of spheres, the Calabi metric on the cotangent bundle of complex projective spaces, and the Bryant--Salamon metrics on vector bundles over certain Einstein manifolds. In particular, we show that the zero sections, as calibrated submanifolds with respect to their respective ambient metrics, are unique among compact minimal submanifolds and are dynamically stable under the mean curvature flow. The proof relies on intricate interconnections of the Ricci flatness of the ambient space and the extrinsic geometry of the calibrated submanifolds.
These notions in the title are of fundamental importance in any branch of physics. However, there have been great difficulties in finding physically acceptable definitions of them in general relativity since Einstein's time. I shall explain these difficulties and progresses that have been made. In particular, I shall introduce new definitions of center of mass and angular momentum at both the quasi-local and total levels, which are derived from first principles in general relativity and by the method of geometric analysis. With these new definitions, the classical formula p=mv is shown to be consistent with Einstein's field equation for the first time. This paper is based on joint work  with Po-Ning Chen and Shing-Tung Yau.
In relativity, the energy of a moving particle depends on the observer, and the rest mass is the minimal energy seen among all observers. The Wang–Yau quasi-local mass for a surface in spacetime introduced in Wang and Yau (Phys Rev Lett 102(2):021101, 2009 ; Commun Math Phys 288(3):919–942, 2009) is defined by minimizing quasi-local energy associated with admissible isometric embeddings of the surface into the Minkowski space. A critical point of the quasi-local energy is an isometric embedding satisfying the Euler–Lagrange equation. In this article, we prove results regarding both local and global minimizing properties of critical points of the Wang–Yau quasi-local energy. In particular, under a condition on the mean curvature vector we show a critical point minimizes the quasi-local energy locally. The same condition also implies that the critical point is globally minimizing among all axially symmetric embedding provided the image of the associated isometric embedding lies in a totally geodesic Euclidean 3-space.
We propose a geometric inequality for two-dimensional spacelike surfaces in the Schwarzschild spacetime. This inequality implies the Penrose inequality for collapsing dust shells in general relativity, as proposed by Penrose and Gibbons. We prove that the inequality holds in several important cases.
A time-flat condition on spacelike 2-surfaces in spacetime is considered here. This condition is analogous to constant torsion condition for curves in three dimensional space and has been studied in [2, 4, 5, 12, 13]. In particular, any 2-surface in a static slice of a static spacetime is time-flat. In this article, we address the question in the title and prove several local and global rigidity theorems for such surfaces in the Minkowski spacetime.