The 3-manifolds tag has no usage guidance.

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### What are some of the big open problems in 3-manifold theory?

From what I understand, the geometrization theorem and its proof helped to settle a lot of outstanding questions about the geometry and topology of 3-manifolds, but there still seems to be quite a lot ...

**39**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### Kirby calculus and local moves

Every orientable 3-manifold can be obtained from the 3-sphere by doing surgery along a framed link. Kirby's theorem says that the surgery along two framed links gives homeomorphic manifolds if and ...

**30**

votes

**2**answers

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### Drawing of the eight Thurston geometries?

Do you know of a picture, drawing, or other concise visual representation of the eight three-dimensional Thurston geometries?
I am imagining something akin to the standard picture (of a sphere, ...

**28**

votes

**0**answers

1k views

### What is the three-dimensional hyperbolic volume of a four-manifold?

Every smooth closed orientable 4-manifold may be constructed via a handle decomposition. Before asking a couple of questions, I recall some well-known facts about handle-decompositions of 4-manifolds.
...

**24**

votes

**2**answers

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### Why is the volume conjecture important?

The volume conjecture, a formula relating hyperbolic volume of a knot complement with the semiclassical limit of a family of coloured Jones polynomials, is widely considered the biggest open problem ...

**23**

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**0**answers

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### Are there lots of integer homology three-spheres?

The problem of counting combinatorial three-spheres with $N$ simplices has implications for some partition functions in physics (see a paper by Benedetti and Ziegler for more background and ...

**22**

votes

**4**answers

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### Can all n-manifolds be obtained by gluing finitely many blocks?

Fix a dimension $n\geqslant 2$. Let $S= \{M_1,\ldots, M_k\}$ be a finite set of smooth compact $n$-manifold with boundary. Let us say that a smooth closed $n$-manifold is generated by $S$ if it may ...

**21**

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**2**answers

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### Elevator pitch for the Virtual Fibering Theorem

There has been a great deal of excitement among topologists about the proof of the Virtual Haken Theorem, and in fact of the Virtual Fibering Theorem (for closed hyperbolic 3-manifolds, but I'm ...

**21**

votes

**2**answers

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### Level sets of Morse functions

Every compact two dimensional manifold admits a Morse function such that any its regular level set is at most two circles. I am interested in a generalization of that phenomenon.
Does there exist a ...

**21**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### How expensive is knowledge? Knots, Links, 3 and 4-manifold algorithms. [closed]

With geometrization, Rubinstein's 3-sphere recognition algorithm and the Manning algorithm, 3-manifold theory has reached a certain maturity where many questions are "readily" answerable about ...

**19**

votes

**7**answers

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### The Chern-Simons/Wess-Zumino-Witten correspondence

I have often seen a relationship being alluded to between these two theories but I am unable to find any literature which proves/derives/explains this relationship.
I guess in the condensed matter ...

**19**

votes

**2**answers

276 views

### Hyperbolic exceptional fillings of cusped hyperbolic 3-manifolds

Thurston's Hyperbolic Dehn Surgery Theorem says that all but finitely many fillings of a cusp of a hyperbolic 3-manifold result in hyperbolic manifolds that are deformations of the original manifold. ...

**19**

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**0**answers

447 views

### The oriented homeomorphism problem for Haken 3-manifolds

Haken famously described an algorithm to solve the homeomorphism problem for the 3-manifolds that bear his name (fleshed out by many others, including Hemion and Matveev who fixed some gaps). But ...

**18**

votes

**1**answer

920 views

### Diffeomorphisms vs homeomorphisms of 3-manifolds

For a smooth 3-manifold $M$, is the natural map from the space of diffeomorphisms of $M$ to the space of homeomorphisms of $M$,
$${\sf Diff}(M) \longrightarrow {\sf Top}(M),$$
a weak homotopy ...

**17**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Is the 4x5 chessboard complex a link complement?

The 2x3 and 3x4 chessboard complexes (form a square grid of vertices and make a simplex for any set of vertices no two of which are in the same row or column) are a 6-cycle and a triangulated torus ...

**16**

votes

**3**answers

532 views

### Looking for “large knot” examples

This question is about knots and links in the 3-sphere. I want to find an example of a "large" knot or link with some special properties. I'm looking for some fairly specific examples, but I'm also ...

**16**

votes

**6**answers

1k views

### Tetrahedra with prescribed face angles

I am looking for an analogue for the following 2 dimensional fact:
Given 3 angles $\alpha,\beta,\gamma\in (0;\pi)$ there is always a triangle with these prescribed angles. It is ...

**15**

votes

**3**answers

701 views

### 3-manifolds with solvable fundamental group

Is there a nice reference for the classification of closed 3-manifolds with solvable (nilpotent, abelian, etc.) fundamental group, assuming the Geometrization Conjecture?

**15**

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**2**answers

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### Proofs of Kirby's theorem

Each orientable 3-manifold can be obtained by doing surgery along a framed link in the 3-sphere. Kirby's theorem says that two framed links give homeomorphic manifolds if and only if they are obtained ...

**15**

votes

**1**answer

561 views

### Can the SL_2 character variety of a three-manifold be nonreduced?

Let $M^3$ be a three-manifold and consider the representation variety and the character variety of $M$:
$$Y=\operatorname{Hom}(\pi_1(M^3),\operatorname{SL}(2,\mathbb C))$$
...

**15**

votes

**2**answers

434 views

### Does a small-area sphere in a 3-manifold bound a small ball?

Let $M$ be a closed riemannian 3-manifold. I think that the following fact should be true and should have a relatively simple proof, but I cannot figure it out.
For every $\varepsilon>0$ there ...

**14**

votes

**6**answers

2k views

### Diffeomorphism of 3-manifolds

Surgery theory aims to measure the difference between simple homotopy types and diffeomorphism types. In 3 dimensions, geometrization achieves something much more nuanced than that. Still, I wonder ...

**14**

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**3**answers

600 views

### Maximal euler characteristic of surfaces bounding two fixed curves

Let $\gamma_0$ and $\gamma_1$ be two simple closed curves in a closed surface $S$.
What is the maximum Euler characteristic of a compact properly embedded surface $\Sigma \subset S\times [0,1]$ ...

**13**

votes

**2**answers

354 views

### Heegaard splitting of covering hyperbolic manifold.

I am curious about how the Heegaard genus changes after a finite covering.
Is there anyone constructing an closed hyperbolic 3-manifold $N$ such that
the Heegaard genus of a finite covering of $N$ ...

**13**

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**1**answer

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### Detecting a cover of the figure-8 knot complement

I have a specific concrete example of a complete, finite volume, cusped hyperbolic 3-manifold $M$, and I am trying to determine whether or not $M$ is a cover of the figure-8 knot complement (call this ...

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**2**answers

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### The kernel of the map from the handlebody group to Outer automorphisms of a free group

Let $K$ be a compact oriented 3-dimensional handlebody of genus $g$. The group $H_g$ of isotopy classes of diffeomorphisms of $K$ is called the handlebody group. (It embeds as a subgroup of the ...

**13**

votes

**1**answer

649 views

### Where are $+$, $-$ and $\infty$ in bordered Heegaard-Floer theory?

Here goes my first MO-question. I've just read Lipshitz, Ozsváth and Thurston's recently updated "A tour of bordered Floer theory". To set the stage let me give two quotes from this paper.
...

**13**

votes

**1**answer

811 views

### $SL_2 R$ Casson invariant?

Casson's invariant is an invariant of a homology 3-sphere, obtained by
``counting" representations of the fundamental group into $SU(2)$.
I was wondering if there is an analogous invariant counting ...

**12**

votes

**3**answers

656 views

### Irreducible homology 3-spheres that bound smooth contractible manifolds

Some examples of irreducible homology 3-spheres that bound smooth contractible 4-manifolds are listed in the comment to problem 4.2 in Kirby's problem list, and all of them happen to occur among the ...

**12**

votes

**2**answers

661 views

### How to see isometries of figure 8 knot complement

The figure 8 knot complement $M$ is the orientable double cover of the Gieseking manifold, which implies that $M$ has a fixed-point free involution. If we think of $M$ with its hyperbolic metric, this ...

**12**

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**1**answer

377 views

### Geometric intersection with incompressible surfaces

Let $M$ be a oriented compact $3$-manifold, closed or with boundary.
For any incompressible surface $F$, define a function $i_F$ on the set of homotopy classes of closed curves in $M$ by $$i_F ...

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**1**answer

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### Question about Thurston's paper “A norm for the homology of 3-manifolds”

I have a question about the proof of Theorem 5 in Thurston's paper "A norm for the homology of 3-manifolds". It's the theorem that asserts that the fibered faces are, well, fibered. More precisely, ...

**12**

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**1**answer

373 views

### Distinguishing 3-manifolds by homologies of covers

In a blog post on ldtopology, a recent arxiv posting of Lins-Lins is discussed. The main argument of that paper is difficult to algorithmically distinguish two 3-manifolds and to that end the authors ...

**11**

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**1**answer

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### Construction of the Casson invariant

What is the easiest construction of the Casson invariant? The original construction using representation spaces (as found, for instance, in Akbulut-McCarthy) is very technical since you have to ...

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**2**answers

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### The homeomorphism problem for hyperbolic 3-manifolds and the virtual Haken theorem

If $N$ and $N'$ are two closed hyperbolic 3-manifolds, then one would like to have an algorithm which determines whether or not $N$ and $N'$ are homeomorphic.
If $N$ and $N'$ are Haken, then such an ...

**11**

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**1**answer

386 views

### Did Milnor and Thurston write anything else about characteristic numbers for 3-manifolds?

In Characteristic numbers for 3-manifolds Milnor and Thurston define a characteristic number and this is cited in ch. 6 of Thurston's notes when discussing the Gromov approach to Mostow rigidity.
The ...

**11**

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**1**answer

445 views

### Wanted: a nontrivial weakly inadmissible Heegaard diagram

This is a question asked by a student in my lecture. After drawing pictures for awhile, I thought it was a good one. I seek a nontrivial example of a pointed Heegaard diagram ...

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**0**answers

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### Fox re-imbedding theorem in dimension four

Fox re-imbedding theorem states the following:
A compact 3-manifold $M$ with boundary that embeds in the three-sphere $S^3$, can be re-imbedded in $S^3$ so that its complement is a union of ...

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votes

**3**answers

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### Flat SU(2) bundles over hyperbolic 3-manifolds

Can someone give me a non-trivial example of a flat SU(2)-connection over a compact orientable hyperbolic 3-manifold?
The literature on such bundles over 3-manifolds is huge and my naive searches ...

**10**

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**3**answers

470 views

### Torsion in cuspidal cohomology

Following Lemma 2.7 from Vogtmann's Rational Homology of Bianchi Groups, I want to define cuspidal cohomology as $$H_{\mathrm{cusp}}(M)=\frac{H_1(M)}{i_*(H_1(\partial M))}$$ where $i:\partial M\to M$ ...

**10**

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**2**answers

344 views

### Heegaard genera of arithmetic 3-manifolds

UPDATE: Because I was hoping that state the question as concisely as
possible, the original post did not include a precise definition of
arithmetic 3-manifold only a reference to Maclachlan and ...

**10**

votes

**1**answer

307 views

### Morse number of the Poincaré homology sphere

What is the Morse number of the Poincaré homology sphere? What about the stable Morse number?

**10**

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**3**answers

626 views

### Best known Margulis constants?

A Margulis number for a hyperbolic $n$-manifold $M=\mathbb{H}^n/\Gamma$ is a number $\epsilon>0$ such that for each $x\in\mathbb{H}^n$ the group generated by the elements in $\Gamma$ which move $x$ ...

**10**

votes

**2**answers

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### Embedding the product of three circles in the 4-sphere.

Let $M$ be a smooth submanifold of the 4-sphere $S^4$. I'm going to demand that $M$ be diffeomorphic to $S^1 \times S^1 \times S^1$. By Jordan-Brouwer separation, $M$ separates the 4-sphere into ...

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**2**answers

528 views

### Vector field on 3-sphere

Let $V$ be a vector field on $S^3$ such that its singularity points, namely the points at which the vector field vanishes, are only sinks or sources (i.e. the field is converging or diverging). Is ...

**10**

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**1**answer

295 views

### Examples of 3-manifolds with RFRS fundamental group

I'm wondering if anyone knows how to construct hyperbolic 3-manifolds whose fundamental group is RFRS. Clearly the recent work of Agol, Wise, etc. says that such manifolds are abundant, and in ...

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**2**answers

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### Geometrization for 3-manifolds that contain two-sided projective planes

Often when people write about the geometrization conjecture they assume (for simplicity) that the manifold is orientable. I never seriously thought of non-orientable 3-manifolds, but while reading ...

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**3**answers

702 views

### Is the cut locus of a generic point in a hyperbolic manifold a generic polyhedron?

Let $p\in M$ be a point in a closed riemannian manifold $M$. Recall that the cut locus of $p$ is the subset of $M$ consisting of all points that are connected to $p$ by at least 2 distance-minimizing ...

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votes

**6**answers

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### Is there a good notion of morphism between orbifolds?

Following Thurston, an orbifold is a topological space which looks locally like a finite quotient of $\mathbb R^n$ by a finite group of $O(n)$: this is expressed using charts as for differentiable ...

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**5**answers

836 views

### Möbius and projective 3-manifolds

A projective 3-manifold is a smooth manifold that admits an atlas with values in the real projective 3-space such that all transition maps are restrictions of projective transformations. A Möbius ...