**75**

votes

**15**answers

9k views

### What is torsion in differential geometry intuitively?

Hi,
given a connection on the tangent space of a manifold, one can define its torsion:
$$T(X,Y):=\triangledown_X Y - \triangledown_Y X - [X,Y]$$
What is the geometric picture behind this ...

**17**

votes

**8**answers

2k views

### Determining a surface in $\mathbb{R}^3$ by its Gaussian curvature

A curve in the plane is determined, up to orientation-preserving
Euclidean
motions, by its curvature function, $\kappa(s)$.
Here is one of my favorite examples, from
Alfred Gray's book,
Modern ...

**5**

votes

**2**answers

394 views

### Cotangent bundle lift theorem

Let $M$ be a smooth manifold and $T^\ast M$ be its cotangent bundle. Consider the tautological 1-form $\theta$ on $T^\ast M$ ($\theta=\sum y_i dx^i$ in local canonical coordinate systems).
A ...

**2**

votes

**1**answer

483 views

### Is it possible to define a structure of differentiable manifold on the Hilbert cube $[0,1]^\mathbb{N}$?

Is it possible to define a structure of differentiable (smooth) manifold on the Hilbert cube $[0,1]^\mathbb{N}$ ?
Has it been done in the literature?
In textbooks, only the Banach case is treated, ...

**2**

votes

**0**answers

253 views

### The twisted kiss of the curvaceous cubic and the staid tetrahedron (references)

(Migrated from MSE)
While investigating some operators, I came across some relations between the twisted cubic curve and the tetrahedron that link together some notions in differential geometry, ...

**90**

votes

**16**answers

12k views

### How do I make the conceptual transition from multivariable calculus to differential forms?

One way to define the algebra of differential forms $\Omega(M)$ on a smooth manifold $M$ (as explained by John Baez's week287) is as the exterior algebra of the dual of the module of derivations on ...

**38**

votes

**7**answers

4k views

### Riemannian surfaces with an explicit distance function?

I'm looking for explicit examples of Riemannian surfaces (two-dimensional Riemannian manifolds $(M,g)$) for which the distance function d(x,y) can be given explicitly in terms of local coordinates of ...

**20**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### Can every manifold be given an analytic structure?

Let $M$ be a (real) manifold. Recall that an analytic structure on $M$ is an atlas such that all transition maps are real-analytic (and maximal with respect to this property). (There's also a sheafy ...

**11**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### Why do I need densities in order to integrate on a non-orientable manifold?

Integration on an orientable differentiable n-manifold is defined using a partition of unity and a global nowhere vanishing n-form called volume form. If the manifold is not orientable, no such form ...

**15**

votes

**2**answers

812 views

### Converse to Stokes' Theorem

Does satisfying Stokes' Theorem imply that a form is linear?
Let $M$ be an $n$-manifold. A differential $k$-form $\omega \in \Omega^k M$ assigns to each point $x \in M$ a function $\omega_x : ...

**22**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### Trapped rays bouncing between two convex bodies

At some point during my research I was confronted with this problem, but I did not dedicate serious time to it. Anyway it stayed in the back of my mind and I'm still interested in hints for it. ...

**8**

votes

**2**answers

319 views

### Surface in 3D that realizes all pairs of principal curvatures

This is a question that Willie Wong raised in comments after he answered my question,
Surface analog of clothoid: curvatures covering $\mathbb{R}^3$. Willie's question is
more interesting (and ...

**4**

votes

**0**answers

221 views

### Symmetric matrices and Hilbert's fourth problem

From the analytic viewpoint, the Busemann-Pogorelov solution of Hilbert's fourth problem is summarized in the following result:
Theorem. All straight lines are extremals of the variational problem
$$
...

**3**

votes

**1**answer

215 views

### Explicit form for hermitian structure $h$ with respect to $\omega$

Let $(M,\omega)$ be a symplectic manifold. and $\pi:L\to M$ be a complex line bundle , we denote $h$ as hermitian structure,i.e. if $s,s'$ are smooth sections of $L$ and if $X$ is a vector field on ...

**3**

votes

**1**answer

247 views

### Existence and Properties of 3D Curves with unusual 2D $(\kappa(s),\tau(s))$ Trajectories

This question is inspired by Surface in 3D that realizes all pairs of principal curvatures
While one can imagine, that a 3D surface could exist, that realizes all pairs of principal curvatures, ...

**1**

vote

**1**answer

239 views

### Projectively equivalent connections

We can define projective structure on a manifold in two ways.
First we can define it as a maximal atlas of charts from the open subsets of manifold to the projective space , such that transitions maps ...

**1**

vote

**1**answer

289 views

### Decomposition of hermitian form used in the definition of Griffiths/Nakano positivity

Let $E$ be a hermitian holomorphic vector bundle over a complex manifold $X$. Then $\Theta(E)$, the curvature of $E$, is a section of $\bigwedge^{1,1}X\otimes\operatorname{End}(E)$. However, we have ...

**50**

votes

**15**answers

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

**6**answers

4k views

### Is there an analogue of curvature in algebraic geometry?

I am not an expert, but there seems to be an enormous technical difference between algebraic geometry and differential/metric geometry stemming from the fact that there is apparently no such thing as ...

**47**

votes

**12**answers

4k views

### What makes four dimensions special?

Do you know properties which distinguish four-dimensional spaces among the others?
What makes four-dimensional topological manifolds special?
What makes four-dimensional differentiable manifolds ...

**56**

votes

**6**answers

5k views

### Is there an underlying explanation for the magical powers of the Schwarzian derivative?

Given a function $f(z)$ on the complex plane, define the Schwarzian derivative $S(f)$ to be the function
$S(f) = \frac{f'''}{f'} - \frac{3}{2} (\frac{f''}{f'})^2$
Here is a somewhat more conceptual ...

**37**

votes

**2**answers

3k views

### Cohomology and fundamental classes

Let X be a real orientable compact differentiable manifold. Is the (co)homology of X generated by the fundamental classes of oriented subvarieties? And if not, what is known about the subgroup ...

**61**

votes

**11**answers

8k views

### Is it possible to capture a sphere in a knot?

You and I decide to play a game:
To start off with, I provide you with a frictionless, perfectly spherical sphere, along with a frictionless, unstretchable, infinitely thin magical rope. This rope ...

**41**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### Random manifolds

In the world of real algebraic geometry there are natural probabilistic questions one can ask: you can make sense of a random hypersurface of degree d in some projective space and ask about its ...

**23**

votes

**5**answers

3k views

### A geometric interpretation of the Levi-Civita connection?

Let $M$ be a Riemannian manifold. There exists a unique torsion-free connection in the (co)tangent bundle of $M$ such that the metric of $M$ is covariantly constant. This connection is called the ...

**14**

votes

**4**answers

1k views

### What is a section?

This question comes out of the answers to Ho Chung Siu's question about vector bundles. Based on my reading, it seems that the definition of the term "section" went through several phases of ...

**9**

votes

**6**answers

2k views

### CW-structures and Morse functions: a reference request

The following is probably well known, but I wasn't able to locate a reference in the literature.
Let $f$ be a Morse function on a smooth compact manifold $M$ without boundary and let $\rho$ be a ...

**8**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### How to see the Phase Space of a Physical System as the Cotangent Bundle

Two things today motivated this question.
First, the professor said that in a lecture Thurston mentioned
Any manifold can be seen as the configuration space of some physical system.
Clearly we ...

**28**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### When is a submanifold of $\mathbf R^n$ given by global equations?

Let $M \subset \mathbf R^n$ be a (smooth) submanifold of dimension $d$. Under which conditions does there exist global equations defining $M$? By global equations I mean : does there exist a smooth ...

**21**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### References for “modern” proof of Newlander-Nirenberg Theorem

Hi,
I'm starting to prepare a graduate topics course on Complex and Kahler manifolds for January 2011. I want to use this course as an excuse to teach the students some geometric analysis. In ...

**18**

votes

**4**answers

3k views

### What is meant by smooth orbifold?

There seems to be some confusion over what the tangent space to a singular point of an orbifold is.
On the one hand there is the obvious notion that smooth structures on orbifolds lift to smooth ...

**14**

votes

**4**answers

1k views

### Weitzenböck Identities

I asked this question at Maths Stack Exchange, but I haven't received any replies yet (I'm not sure how long I should wait before it is acceptable to ask here, assuming there is such a period of ...

**23**

votes

**2**answers

808 views

### Is there a convenient differential calculus for cojets?

I understand the basics of exterior differential geometry and how to do calculus with exterior differential forms. I know how to use this to justify the notation dy/dx as a literal ratio of the ...

**21**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### Two definitions of Calabi-Yau manifolds

Why is it that the vanishing of the integral first Chern class of a compact Kahler manifold is equivalent to the canonical bundle being trivial? I can see that it implies that the canonical bundle ...

**14**

votes

**2**answers

984 views

### Does it make sense to talk about smooth bundles of Hilbert spaces?

Is there a notion of "smooth bundle of Hilbert spaces" (the base is a smooth finite dimensional manifold, and the fibers are Hilbert spaces) such that:
1• A smooth bundle of Hilbert spaces ...

**28**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### Is there a “geometric” intuition underlying the notion of normal varieties?

I first got concious of the notion of normal varieties around 3 years ago and despite the fact that by now I can manipulate with it a bit, this notion still puzzles me a lot.
One thing that strikes me ...

**19**

votes

**1**answer

752 views

### Are the only local minima of $\angle(v, Av)$ the eigenvectors?

Let $A$ be an invertible $n \times n$ complex matrix. For $v \in \mathbb{CP}^{n-1}$, define
$$d(v) = \frac{|\langle A \tilde{v}, \tilde{v} \rangle |^2}{ \langle A \tilde{v}, A \tilde{v} \rangle ...

**9**

votes

**2**answers

975 views

### When does the tangent bundle of a manifold admit a flat connection?

Let $M$ be a smooth manifold, and let $TM$ denote its tangent bundle. Under what conditions does $TM$ admit a flat connection $\omega$?
Edit: Formerly, I asked about a flat connection on the frame ...

**22**

votes

**3**answers

778 views

### Rep Theory Consequences of Bott--Weil--Borel

I've been getting interested in the (Bott--)Borel--Weil theorem lately. As a (mainly) geometer it is very interesting to see representation appearing (from nowhere as far as I can see) in the theory ...

**18**

votes

**5**answers

793 views

### Lightray trapped between two mirror disks: Computation formulation?

I would like to calculate the angle of a ray $r$ from a given
point $p$ such that it gets "stuck" reflecting between
two congruent mirror-disks.
For why there is such a ray, see the (amazing!) answer
...

**12**

votes

**3**answers

645 views

### What is the DGLA controlling the deformation theory of a complex submanifold?

Let $X$ be a complex manifold, $Y\hookrightarrow X$ a complex compact submanifold. Let $T_{X/Y}$ denote the normal bundle of $Y$ in $X$, and $\mathcal{O}(T_{X/Y})$ its sheaf of holomorphic sections. ...

**9**

votes

**1**answer

2k views

### Derivative of Exponential Map

Given a Riemannian manifold $M$, let $\gamma: (a,b) \to M$ be a geodesic and $E$ a parallel vector field along $\gamma$. Define $\varphi: (a,b) \to M$ by $t \mapsto \exp_{\gamma(t)}(E(t))$. Is there a ...

**18**

votes

**1**answer

753 views

### Under exactly what (extra) conditions (if any) is a connected Hausdorff manifold with a Riemannian metric a metric space?

The setting is that manifolds are Banach manifolds, not necessarily finite dimensional. No other assumption is made about the topology of the manifold. In particular, it is not assumed to be regular ...

**18**

votes

**0**answers

1k views

**14**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Switching from pure mathematics (e.g. geometry) to more applied areas (e.g imaging) after Ph.D., as postdoc and chance of getting such a postdoc?

Before I start my question, I should probably mention that this question might not be the right question to ask here, but I tried academiabeta, and stackoverflow, but without getting any to-the-point ...

**13**

votes

**2**answers

717 views

### Is there a unified reason that there are an infinite number of geodesics between nonconjugate points on a compact manifold?

The proof of this statement seems to break into two really different arguments. So, I'm wondering if there is a better argument that can explain them both, or whether it's really just two theorems ...

**19**

votes

**4**answers

980 views

### Surfaces filled densely by a geodesic

Which smooth, closed surfaces $S \subset \mathbb{R}^3$ have no
single geodesic $\gamma$ that fills $S$ densely?
Say a geodesic $\gamma$ "fills $S$ densely" if the closure of the set of points
...

**15**

votes

**1**answer

404 views

### Does the holonomy map define a homomorphism $\pi_k(X)\to\pi_{k-1}(Hol(\nabla))$?

Consider a vector bundle $V\to E\to X$ with fiber $V$, with structure group $G$, and $X$ path-connected. Consider a connection $\nabla$ on $E$. Then for any loop $L$ in $X$, based at $p$, we have a ...

**12**

votes

**3**answers

804 views

### How transitive are the actions of symplectomorphism groups ?

This question is motivated by the classical fact from differential geometry :
Let $M$ be a smooth manifold of dimension at least $2$. Then for any $n$ the diffeomorphism group $\textrm{Diff}(M)$ ...

**8**

votes

**3**answers

893 views

### Intuition for Levi-Civita connection via Hamiltonian flows

A Euclidean metric on a manifold $X$ defines a function on the symplectic space $T^*X$ whose Hamiltonian flow gives geodesics. Is there a similar interpretation of the Levi-Civita connection?