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63
votes
4answers
5k views

How can there be topological 4-manifolds with no differentiable structure?

This is a very naive question, and I'm hoping that it will be matched by a correspondingly elementary answer. It is well known that not every topological 4-manifold admits a smooth structure. So ...
61
votes
8answers
6k views

Theoretical physics: Why not just R^4?

You and I are having a conversation: "Okay," I say,"I think I get it. The gauge groups we know and love arise naturally as symmetries of state spaces of particles." "Something like that" "...And ...
26
votes
3answers
1k views

Embeddings of $S^2$ in $\mathbb{CP}^2$

Suppose we are given an embedding of $S^2$ in $\mathbb{CP}^2$ with self-intersection 1. Is there a diffeomorphism of $\mathbb{CP}^2$ which takes the given sphere to a complex line? Note: I suspect ...
26
votes
0answers
934 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. ...
23
votes
1answer
1k views

Can you flip the end of a large exotic $\mathbb{R}^4$

Can you flip the end of a large exotic $\mathbb{R}^4$ Background Definition (Exotic $\mathbb{R}^4$): An exotic $\mathbb{R}^4$ is a smooth manifold $R$ homeomorphic but not diffeomorphic to ...
21
votes
3answers
1k views

What manifolds are bounded by RP^odd?

Real projective spaces ℝPn have ℤ/2 cohomology rings ℤ/2[x]/(xn+1) and total Stiefel-Whitney class (1+x)n+1 which is 1 when n is odd, so it follows that odd dimensional ones are boundaries of compact ...
21
votes
4answers
1k views

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 ...
20
votes
3answers
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 ...
18
votes
0answers
668 views

Almost complex 4-manifolds with a “holomorphic” vector field

Main question. What is the class of smooth orientable 4-dimensional manifolds that admit an almost complex structure $J$ and a vector field v, that preserves $J$? The following sub question is ...
17
votes
1answer
810 views

What's the Kirby Diagram of a universal $\mathbb{R}^4$?

What's the Kirby diagram of a universal $\mathbb{R}^4$? Background Define $\mathcal{R}$ as the set of smoothings of $\mathbb{R}^4$. For two oriented elements $R_1$, $R_2$ in $\mathcal{R}$ we can ...
17
votes
0answers
524 views

Which manifolds decompose into pants?

In this nice paper Mikhalkin uses certain (more geometrical than algebraic) aspects of tropical geometry to prove that every complex projective hypersurface in $\mathbb C \mathbb P ^n$ decomposes as a ...
16
votes
0answers
834 views

When is a compact topological 4-manifold a CW complex?

Freedman's $E_8$-manifold is nontriangulable, as proved on page (xvi) of the Akbulut-McCarthy 1990 Princeton Mathematical Notes "Casson's invariant for oriented homology 3-spheres". Kirby showed that ...
14
votes
3answers
901 views

open problems in Seiberg-Witten Theory on 4-Manifolds

What are some of the open problems in Seiberg-Witten Theory on 4-Manifolds.I tried googling but couldn't any. I tried googling it, but couldn't find any resources.The places where I can a survey or ...
14
votes
0answers
222 views

Shortest Casson tower containing a slice disk for the attaching curve

A Casson tower is obtained as follows: Start with a properly immersed disk in $\mathbb{B}^4$ - a regular neighborhood of such a disk is called a kinky handle. The boundary of the core disk ...
13
votes
2answers
949 views

topological “milnor's conjecture” on torus knots.

Here's a question that has come up in a couple of talks that I have given recently. The 'classical' way to show that there is a knot $K$ that is locally-flat slice in the 4-ball but not smoothly ...
12
votes
1answer
446 views

Handlebody decomposition of an open 4-manifold

Let $M$ be the fake $CP^2$ (namely the closed topological 4-manifold which is homotopy equivalent but not homeomorphic to the complex projective plan). It is well-known that $M$ admits no smooth ...
12
votes
1answer
993 views

A question on classification of almost complex structures on $4$-manifolds

I have a (basic?) question in topology. Question 1. Is it possible to characterise compact $4$-manifolds $M^4$, such that almost complex structures on $M^4$ are uniquely defined up to homotopy by ...
12
votes
1answer
362 views

Does a compact negatively curved manfiold of dimension 4 admit a cover of finite degree?

A $3$-dimensional compact manifold of negative sectional curvature admits (by geometrisation?) a metric of curvature $-1$, and so its fundamental group has subgroups of finite index. I wonder if an ...
12
votes
2answers
551 views

Explicit embeddings of Cappell-Shaneson knots

In 1976 Cappell and Shaneson gave some examples of knots in homotopy 4-spheres and for some time these examples were considered as possible counter-examples to the smooth 4-dimensional Poincare ...
12
votes
1answer
998 views

Proofs of Rohlin's theorem (an oriented 4-manifold with zero signature bounds a 5-manifold)

A celebrated theorem of Rohlin states the following An oriented closed 4-manifold $M^4$ bounds an oriented 5-manifold if and only if the signature of $M^4$ is zero. Simple homological arguments ...
11
votes
4answers
1k views

How Many 4-Manifolds are Symplectic?

As an honest question (probably with some subjectivity), how many smooth oriented 4-manifolds are actually symplectic? Can I say half (perhaps under some mild assumptions)? I ask this question because ...
11
votes
2answers
461 views

Existing proofs of Rokhlin's theorem for PL manifolds

I'm looking for a comprehensive reference to existing proofs of Rokhlin's theorem that a 4-dimensional closed spin PL manifold has signature divisible by 16. I'm specifically interested in direct ...
11
votes
1answer
1k views

What does Yang-Mills and mass gap problem has to do with mathematics?

I'm not very experienced in this topic, but I read a short description of the Yang-Mills existence and mass gap problem, and as long as I understood it has mainly physical consequences and ...
11
votes
1answer
589 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. ...
10
votes
1answer
1k views

Is there a smooth $4$-manifold homeomorphic but not diffemorphic to $CP^2$? [closed]

Is there a smooth $4$-manifold homeomorphic but not diffemorphic to $CP^2$? Are there known non-smooth examples homeomorphic $CP^2$?
10
votes
1answer
496 views

Smooth four-manifolds with contractible universal cover

Let $X$ be a smooth compact four-manifold with definite non-trivial intersection form. Can the universal cover of $X$ be contractible? It semms to me that the answer is negative when $X$ is simply ...
10
votes
2answers
390 views

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 ...
10
votes
1answer
249 views

Visualising locally flat embeddings of surfaces in R^4

As far as I understand it follows from the work of M. Freedman that there exist locally flat embeddings of two dimensional surfaces in $\mathbb R^4$ that can not be smoothed in the class of locally ...
10
votes
0answers
174 views

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 ...
9
votes
3answers
652 views

Alexander polynomial or Reidemeister torsion for knotted surfaces?

An important invariant of a knot in $S^3$ is its Alexander polynomial, related also to Reidemeister torsion. Is there something like that for knotted surfaces in $S^4$? If not, what are the ...
9
votes
1answer
364 views

Complexity of surfaces bounding knots in 4-ball and 3-sphere respectively

I'm interested in a complexity question related to problems like the slice-ribbon problem. To be specific, if $K \subset S^3$ is a knot, it might be non-trivial yet still bound a smoothly-embedded ...
8
votes
2answers
706 views

When is the connected sum of manifolds orientation-independent?

Given $M$ and $N$, two connected orientable manifolds of the same dimension, when is $M$ # $N$ diffeomorphic to $M$ # $\overline{N}$, where $\overline{N}$ is $N$ with the orientation reversed? If $N$ ...
7
votes
2answers
1k views

Slice knots and exotic $\mathbb R^4$

In the http://arxiv.org/abs/math/0606464v1 I read "If you want to prove existence of exotic smooth structure on $\mathbb R^4$ you can do this if you are in possession of a knot which is ...
7
votes
1answer
606 views

A remark by Gromov on 4-manifolds

Gromov remarks in a a survey on manifolds (p.12) that "it is hard to imagine that there are infinitely many non-diffeomorphic, but mutually homeomorphic, quotients of the hyperbolic 4-space by ...
7
votes
1answer
229 views

Are 4-dimensional mapping tori always spin?

We know that all compact orientable manifolds of dimension 3 are spin. In 4 dimensions, $CP^2$ is not spin. I would like to ask if all 4-dimensional compact orientable mapping tori are spin? See ...
7
votes
1answer
554 views

Are there symplectic 4-folds with $b_+>1$, $b_-=0$?

This is the question. Is it known that a symplectic $4$-fold with $b_2>1$ should have a homology class $C$ with $C^2<0$?
7
votes
1answer
594 views

Gromov-Witten invariants counting curves passing through two points

Let us say that a closed symplectic manifold $X$ is $GW_g$-connected if there is a nonvanishing Gromov-Witten invariant of the form $GW_{g,n}^{X,A}(\beta,point, point,\alpha_3,\ldots,\alpha_n)$ --in ...
7
votes
2answers
556 views

slice=ribbon generalization to higher genus + potential counterexamples to slice=ribbon.

I have two questions about the slice=ribbon conjecture. (1) If a knot $K \hookrightarrow S^3$ has smooth slice genus $g$, you can ask if it bounds a smooth genus $g$ surface in $S^3 \times [0, ...
6
votes
2answers
763 views

A problem/conjecture related to 4-manifolds that deserves a name. What name does it deserve?

There's an old problem in 4-manifold theory that, as far as I know, doesn't have a name associated with it and really deserves a name. Let $M$ be a smooth 4-manifold with boundary. Let $S$ be a ...
6
votes
1answer
304 views

Almost parallelizable 4-manifolds

On the first page of Milnor-Kervaire's paper "Bernoulli numbers, homotopy groups, and a theorem of Rohlin", they assert without proof or reference that if $M$ is a compact connected oriented ...
6
votes
2answers
240 views

Knotted projective planes and fake complex projective space

Paul Melvin gave a talk at Knots in Washington last year in which he asked whether the connected sum of an odd twist-spin of a classical knot and a standard cross-cap embedding of ${\mathbb R}P^2$ is ...
6
votes
0answers
188 views

What is the state of the art in 4-manfold 2-types?

In an old answer to an old question of mine, Peter Teichner commented that it is an open problem to determine which homotopy 2-types arise from 4-manifolds. In some instances we know that a 4-manifold ...
6
votes
0answers
135 views

Surgering locally flat tori in 4-manifolds

Is there a locally flat torus in some not smoothable topological 4-manifold such that surgering on it produces a smoothable 4-manifold? Surgering means removing a tubular neighborhood and reattaching ...
5
votes
5answers
988 views

What is the possible usefulness of étale topology and cohomology apart from the resolution of the Weil conjecture ?

My question is as stated in the title: What is the possible usefulness of étale topology and cohomology apart from the resolution of the Weil conjecture ? I am particularly interested to know if ...
5
votes
2answers
548 views

First appearance of Novikov's additivity theorem

Hi! Novikov's additivity theorem states that if you glue together two compact oriented 4n-manifolds along a connected component of their boundaries, the signature of the resulting manifold is ...
5
votes
3answers
331 views

PD3 groups and PD4 complexes

I am interested at the moment in what groups can occur as the fundamental group of a 4-manifold (or more generally, a 4-dimensional CW complex) with prescribed conditions on the intersection form. I ...
5
votes
1answer
262 views

What are Kirby diagrams of candidate exotic 4-manifolds?

It is an open problem whether there exist smooth manifolds homeomorphic, but not diffeomorphic to the standard $S^4$. The same is true for the 4-torus and several other manifolds. Handle ...
5
votes
1answer
213 views

How to embed genus 4 surface inside $\mathbb{C}P^2\# \mathbb{C}P^2$ representing nontrivial homology class

As the title says, I want to embed the genus 4 surface inside $\mathbb{C}P^2\# \mathbb{C}P^2$ representing a nontrivial homology class. I know that $H_2(\mathbb{C}P^2 \# \mathbb{C}P^2; ...
4
votes
3answers
886 views

Minimal genus, adjunction inequality

Let's consider closed simply-connected 4-manifold $M$ and some $a\in H^2(M)$. It is very natural question to estimate minimal $g$ that $a$ can be presented as embedded surface of genus $g$. As I know ...
4
votes
4answers
593 views

4-genus of a 2-bridge link

How can we calculate the 4-genus of a link L? The 4-genus is defined to be the minimal genus of orientable surface bounded by L in B^4. Is there any routine method to calculate that? Especially, any ...