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Meaning of Plateau's problem

Pla•teau's' prob'lem

Pronunciation: (pla-tōz'), [key]
— Math. Math.
  1. the problem in the calculus of variations of finding the surface with the least area bounded by a given closed curve in space.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.