Homotopy, stable homotopy, homology and cohomology, homotopical algebra.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

102
votes
7answers
7k views

Proofs of Bott periodicity

K-theory sits in an intersection of a whole bunch of different fields, which has resulted in a huge variety of proof techniques for its basic results. For instance, here's a scattering of proofs of ...
91
votes
3answers
4k views

Is R^3 the square of some topological space?

The other day, I was idly considering when a topological space has a square root. That is, what spaces are homeomorphic to $X \times X$ for some space $X$. $\mathbb{R}$ is not such a space: If $X ...
78
votes
12answers
6k views

Why is the fundamental group of a compact Riemann surface not free ?

Consider a compact Riemann surface $X$ of genus $g$. It is well-known that its fundamental group $\pi_1(X)$ is the free group on the generators $a_1,b_1,...,a_g,b_g$ divided out by the normal ...
75
votes
11answers
5k views

Spectral sequences: opening the black box slowly with an example

My friend and I are attempting to learn about spectral sequences at the moment, and we've noticed a common theme in books about spectral sequences: no one seems to like talking about differentials. ...
71
votes
6answers
4k views

Counterexamples in algebraic topology?

In this thread Books you would like to read (if somebody would just write them...), I expressed my desire for a book with the title "(Counter)examples in Algebraic Topology". My reason for doing so ...
66
votes
18answers
6k views

Occurrences of (co)homology in other disciplines and/or nature

I am curious if the setup for (co)homology theory appears outside the realm of pure mathematics. The idea of a family of groups linked by a series of arrows such that the composition of consecutive ...
64
votes
6answers
3k views

What properties make $[0,1]$ a good candidate for defining fundamental groups?

The title essentially says it all. Consider the category $\mathfrak{Top}_2$ of triples $(J,e_0,e_1)$ where $J$ is a topological space, and $e_i \in J$. There is an obvious generalization of the ...
63
votes
4answers
4k views

Which manifolds are homeomorphic to simplicial complexes?

This question is only motivated by curiousity; I don't know a lot about manifold topology. Suppose $M$ is a compact topological manifold of dimension $n$. I'll assume $n$ is large, say $n\geq 4$. ...
56
votes
4answers
4k views

Algorithm or theory of diagram chasing

One of the standard parts of homological algebra is "diagram chasing", or equivalent arguments with universal properties in abelian categories. Is there a rigorous theory of diagram chasing, and ...
55
votes
10answers
9k views

Motivation for algebraic K-theory?

I'm looking for a big-picture treatment of algebraic K-theory and why it's important. I've seen various abstract definitions (Quillen's plus and Q constructions, some spectral constructions like ...
52
votes
8answers
4k views

equivalence of Grothendieck-style versus Cech-style sheaf cohomology

Given a topological space $X$, we can define the sheaf cohomology of $X$ in I. the Grothendieck style (as the right derived functor of the global sections functor $\Gamma(X,-)$) or II. the Čech ...
50
votes
15answers
6k views

Are there examples of non-orientable manifolds in nature?

Whilst browsing through Marcel Berger's book "A Panoramic View of Riemannian Geometry" and thinking about the Klein bottle, I came across the sentence: "The unorientable surfaces are never discussed ...
50
votes
2answers
1k views

The topological analog of flatness?

Recall that a map $f:X\to Y$ of schemes is called flat iff for any $x\in X$ the ring $O_{X,x}$ is a flat $O_{Y,f(x)}$-module. Briefly the question is: what is the topological analog of this? Many ...
48
votes
7answers
5k views

Homotopy groups of Lie groups

Several times I've heard the claim that any Lie group $G$ has trivial second fundamental group $\pi_2(G)$, but I have never actually come across a proof of this fact. Is there a nice argument, ...
47
votes
4answers
5k views

Etale cohomology — Why study it?

I know (at least I think I know) that some of the main motivating problems in the development of etale cohomology were the Weil conjectures. I'd like to know what other problems one can solve using ...
46
votes
15answers
3k views

Teaching homology via everyday examples

What stories, puzzles, games, paradoxes, toys, etc from everyday life are better understood after learning homology theory? To be more precise, I am teaching a short course on homology, from ...
46
votes
0answers
3k views

The topology of Arithmetic Progressions of primes

The primary motivation for this question is the following: I would like to extract some topological statistics which capture how arithmetic progressions of prime numbers "fit together" in a manner ...
46
votes
0answers
3k views

Grothendieck-Teichmuller conjecture

(1) In "Esquisse d'un programme", Grothendieck conjectures Grothendieck-Teichmuller conjecture: the morphism $$ G_{\mathbb{Q}} \longrightarrow Aut(\widehat{T}) $$ is an isomorphism. Here ...
45
votes
28answers
4k views

Examples where it's useful to know that a mathematical object belongs to some family of objects

For an expository piece I'm writing, it would be useful to have good examples of the following phenomenon: (1) ${\cal X}$ is a parameterized family of somethings. (Varieties, schemes, manifolds, ...
43
votes
8answers
4k views

What is a continuous path?

I would like some help, because I am getting mad trying to answer the following Question: Let $X$ be a topological space, what is a continuous path in $X$? Well, maybe you're already getting ...
42
votes
6answers
4k views

third stable homotopy group of spheres via geometry?

It is ''well-known'' that the third stable homotopy group of spheres is cyclic of order $24$. It is also ''well-known'' that the quaternionic Hopf map $\nu:S^7 \to S^4$, an $S^3$-bundle, suspends to a ...
41
votes
11answers
4k views

What is Quantization ?

I would like to know what quantization is, I mean I would like to have some elementary examples, some soft nontechnical definition, some explanation about what do mathematicians quantize?, can we ...
41
votes
8answers
3k views

What are the uses of the homotopy groups of spheres?

Pete Clark threw down the challenge in his comment to my answer on Why the heck are the homotopy groups of the sphere so damn complicated?: Have the homotopy groups of spheres ever been applied to ...
40
votes
6answers
3k views

Which of Quillen's Papers Should I read?

I just heard that Dan Quillen passed on. I am not familiar with his work and want to celebrate his life by reading some of his papers. Which one(s?) should I read? I am an algebraic geometry who is ...
38
votes
4answers
2k views

Torsion in homology or fundamental group of subsets of Euclidean 3-space

Here's a problem I've found entertaining. Is it possible to find a subset of 3-dimensional Euclidean space such that its homology groups (integer coefficients) or one of its fundamental groups ...
37
votes
4answers
2k views

Total spaces of $TS^2$ and $S^2 \times R^2$ not homeomorphic

Hello, I'm looking for an invariant to distinguish the homeomorphism types of homotopy equivalent spaces. Specifically, how does one show that the total spaces of the tangent bundle to $S^2$ and the ...
37
votes
5answers
2k views

Computational complexity of computing homotopy groups of spheres

At various times I've heard the statement that computing the group structure of $\pi_k S^n$ is algorithmic. But I've never come across a reference claiming this. Is there a precise algorithm ...
35
votes
8answers
3k views

Natural transformations as categorical homotopies

Every text book I've ever read about Category Theory gives the definition of natural transformation as a collection of morphisms which make the well known diagrams commute. There is another possible ...
35
votes
7answers
10k views

Is Mac Lane still the best place to learn category theory?

For a student embarking on a study of algebraic topology, requiring a knowledge of basic category theory, with a long-term view toward higher/stable/derived category theory, ... Is Mac Lane still ...
35
votes
2answers
912 views

Is there an analog of Sperner's lemma for the Hopf invariant?

Recall that Sperner's lemma is essentially a combinatorial version of the topological statement "A map from $S^n$ to $S^n$ with degree one cannot be nullhomotopic." My question is, does there exist ...
33
votes
10answers
5k views

Definition of “simplicial complex”

When I think of a "simplicial complex", I think of the geometric realization of a simplicial set (a simplicial object in the category of sets). I'll refer to this as "the first definition". However, ...
33
votes
2answers
2k views

What arithmetic information is contained in the algebraic K-theory of the integers

I'm always looking for applications of homotopy theory to other fields, mostly as a way to make my talks more interesting or to motivate the field to non-specialists. It seems like most talks about ...
33
votes
3answers
821 views

Lambda-operations on stable homotopy groups of spheres

The Barratt-Quillen-Priddy theorem says in one interpretation that there is a weak equivalence of spectra $K(FinSet) \simeq \mathbb{S}^0$. In other words K-theory groups of finite sets are the stable ...
32
votes
11answers
5k views

Why torsion is important in (co)homology ?

I've once been told that "torsion in homology and cohomology is regarded by topologists as a very deep and important phenomenon". I presume an analogous statement could be said in the context of ...
32
votes
4answers
1k views

To which extent can one recover a manifold from its group of homeomorphisms

Question. Suppose that $M$ is a closed connected topological manifold and $G$ is its group of homeomorphisms (with compact-open topology). Does $G$ (as a topological group) uniquely determine $M$? ...
32
votes
0answers
764 views

Homotopy type of TOP(4)/PL(4)

It is known (e.g. the Kirby-Siebenmann book) that $\mathrm{TOP}(n)/\mathrm{PL}(n)\simeq K({\mathbb Z}/2,3)$ for $n>4$. I believe it is also known (Freedman-Quinn) that ...
31
votes
5answers
2k views

Why do wedges of spheres often appear in combinatorics?

Robin Forman writes in "A User's Guide to Discrete Morse Theory": The reader should not get the impression that the homotopy type of a CW complex is determined by the number of cells of each ...
31
votes
1answer
3k views

Cochains on Eilenberg-MacLane Spaces

Let $p$ be a prime number, let $k$ be a commutative ring in which $p=0$, and let $X = K( {\mathbb Z}/p {\mathbb Z}, n)$ be an Eilenberg-MacLane space. Let $F$ be the free $E_{\infty}$-algebra over $k$ ...
30
votes
7answers
2k views

What part of the fundamental group is captured by the second homology group?

Let $X$ be a connected CW complex. One can ask to what extent $H_\ast(X)$ determines $\pi_1(X)$. For example, it determines its abelianization, because the Hurewicz Theorem implies that $H_1(X)$ is ...
30
votes
11answers
3k views

Compelling evidence that two basepoints are better than one

This question is inspired by an answer of Tim Porter. Ronnie Brown pioneered a framework for homotopy theory in which one may consider multiple basepoints. These ideas are accessibly presented in his ...
30
votes
6answers
3k views

What does actually being a CW-complex provide in algebraic topology?

From time to time, I pretend to be an algebraic topologist. But I'm not really hard-core and some of the deeper mysteries of the subject are still ... mysterious. One that came up recently is the ...
30
votes
6answers
3k views

Non-examples of model structures, that fail for subtle/surprising reasons?

An often-cited principle of good mathematical exposition is that a definition should always come with a few examples and a few non-examples to help the learner get an intuition for where the concept's ...
30
votes
8answers
3k views

How should one think about pushforward in cohomology?

Suppose f:X→Y. If I decorate that first sentence with appropriate adjectives, then I get a pushforward map in cohomology H*(X)→H*(Y). For example, suppose that X and Y are oriented ...
30
votes
10answers
3k views

List of Classifying Spaces and Covers

I am looking for a list of classifying spaces $BG$ of groups $G$ (discrete and/or topological) along with associated covers $EG$; there does not seem to be such cataloging on the web. Or if not a ...
30
votes
4answers
2k views

Chain homotopy: Why du+ud and not du+vd?

When one wants to prove that a morphism $f_*$ between two chain complexes $\left(C_*\right)$ and $\left(D_*\right)$ is zero in homology, one of the standard approaches is to look for a chain homotopy, ...
29
votes
11answers
3k views

What is the Cayley projective plane?

One can build a projective plane from R^n, C^n and H^n and is then tempted to do the same for octonions. This leads to the construction of a projective plane known as OP^2, the Cayley projective ...
29
votes
7answers
3k views

What is DAG and what has it to do with the ideas of Voevodsky?

In Toen's and Vezzosi's article From HAG to DAG: derived moduli stacks a kind of definition of DAG is given. I am not an expert and can't see what's the relation between DAG and the motivic cohomology ...
29
votes
3answers
2k views

Why do finite homotopy groups imply finite homology groups?

Why does a space with finite homotopy groups [for every n] have finite homology groups? How can I proof this [not only for connected spaces with trivial fundamental group]? The converse is false. ...
29
votes
20answers
3k views

Generalizations of Planar Graphs

This is a follow up to Harrison's question: why planar graphs are so exceptional. I would like to ask about (and collect answers to) various notions, in graph theory and beyond graph theory (topology; ...
29
votes
9answers
5k views

Nice proof of the Jordan curve theorem?

As a student, I was taught that the Jordan curve theorem is a great example of an intuitively clear statement which has no simple proof. What is the simplest known proof today? Is there an intuitive ...