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.
We derive pointwise curvature estimates for graphical mean curvature flows in higher codimensions. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first such estimates without assuming smallness of first derivatives of the defining map. An immediate application is a convergence theorem of the mean curvature flow of the graph of an area decreasing map between flat Riemann surfaces.
This note revisits the inverse mean curvature flow in the 3-dimensional hyperbolic space. In particular, we show that the limiting shape is not necessarily round after scaling, thus resolving an inconsistency in the literature. The same conclusion is obtained for n-dimensional hyperbolic space as well.
The classical Minkowski formula is extended to spacelike codimension-two submanifolds in spacetimes which admit "hidden symmetry" from conformal Killing-Yano two-forms. As an application, we obtain an Alexandrov type theorem for spacelike codimension-two submanifolds in a static spherically symmetric spacetime: a codimension-two submanifold with constant normalized null expansion (null mean curvature) must lie in a shear-free (umbilical) null hypersurface. These results are generalized for higher order curvature invariants. In particular, the notion of mixed higher order mean curvature is introduced to highlight the special null geometry of the submanifold. Finally, Alexandrov type theorems are established for spacelike submanifolds with constant mixed higher order mean curvature, which are generalizations of hypersurfaces of constant Weingarten curvature in the Euclidean space.