The theory of bifurcation from equilibria based on center-manifold reduction and Poincaré-Birkhoff normal forms is reviewed at an introductory level. Both differential equations and maps are discussed, and recent results explaining the symmetry of the normal form are derived. The emphasis is on the simplest generic bifurcations in one-parameter systems. Two applications are developed in detail: a Hopf bifurcation occurring in a model of three-wave mode coupling and steady-state bifurcations occurring in the real Landau-Ginzburg equation. The former provides an example of the importance of degenerate bifurcations in problems with more than one parameter and the latter illustrates new effects introduced into a bifurcation problem by a continuous symmetry.
© 1991 The American Physical Society