Complex, contact, Riemannian, pseudo-Riemannian and Finsler geometry, relativity, gauge theory, global analysis.

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71
votes
15answers
8k 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 ...
16
votes
8answers
1k 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
466 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, ...
83
votes
16answers
11k 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
7answers
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 ...
10
votes
5answers
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
2answers
766 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
3answers
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
2answers
310 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
0answers
217 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
1answer
201 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
1answer
216 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
1answer
220 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
1answer
287 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
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 ...
47
votes
12answers
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 ...
37
votes
2answers
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
11answers
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 ...
23
votes
5answers
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 ...
40
votes
4answers
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 ...
9
votes
6answers
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
4answers
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 ...
27
votes
3answers
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
5answers
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
4answers
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
4answers
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 ...
14
votes
2answers
961 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
5answers
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 ...
20
votes
1answer
744 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
2answers
906 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
3answers
725 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
5answers
782 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
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
1answer
734 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
0answers
1k views

Ricci flat metric on $n$-sphere?

Can you put a Ricci flat metric on the $n$-sphere, $n>4$?
14
votes
2answers
905 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 ...
19
votes
4answers
941 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
1answer
395 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
705 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
860 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?
17
votes
2answers
1k views

Probing a manifold with geodesics

Supposed you stand at a point $p \in M$ on a smooth 2-manifold $M$ embedded in $\mathbb{R}^3$. You do not know anything about $M$. You shoot off a geodesic $\gamma$ in some direction $u$, and learn ...
12
votes
2answers
476 views

On closed simple curve with curvature at most 1

I am looking for the reference to the following theorem. I have to apply a similar statement, and it would be nice to trace the source. Please note, I know few proofs in fact it is Problem 3 in my ...
12
votes
3answers
649 views

Is it true that all sphere bundles are boundaries of disk bundles?

Let $E$ be the total space of the sphere bundle $S^k\to E\to M$, is it true that there exists a disk bundle $D^{k+1}\to N\to M$ such that $E=\partial N$? (where $D^{k+1}$ is the unit disk in $\mathbb ...
8
votes
2answers
813 views

If compact connected Lie groups are homeomorphic as topological space, are they isomorphic as Lie groups?

Let $G_{1}$ and $G_{2}$ be compact connected Lie groups. If $G_{1}$ and $G_{2}$ are homeomorphic as topological spaces, are they isomorphic as Lie groups?
7
votes
3answers
2k views

Curvature of a Lie group

Since a lie group is a manifold with the structure of a continuous group, then each point of the manifold has some scalar curvature R. Is there a nice formula which relates the lie algebra of the ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Solutions to the eikonal equation

Theorem. Let V be a $C^\infty$ function on a riemannian manifold $M$ and $p$ be a nondegenerate local minimum with $V(p)=0$. Then there is a unique positive function $\varphi \in C^\infty(U)$ such ...
1
vote
2answers
523 views

Exotic spectrum of Laplace operator

Given a closed Riemannian manifold and a generalized Laplace $\Delta$ operator, it is well known that $\Delta$ has discrete spectrum $(\lambda_n)_n$ (arranged in a increasing way, not counting ...
21
votes
2answers
1k views

Non-regular Connected Hausdorff Banach Manifold

After reading this MO post, I am wondering: Is every (connected) Hausdorff Banach manifold a regular space? Though unjustified, page 53 of this paper nonchalantly states: "Note that a Hausdorff ...
17
votes
5answers
862 views

Can one recover a metric from geodesics?

Assume there are two Riemannian metrics on a manifold ( open or closed) with the same set of all geodesics. Are they proportional by a constant? If not in general, what are the affirmative results in ...
13
votes
2answers
594 views

Uniqueness of compactification of an end of a manifold

Let $M$ be an $n$-dimensional manifold (smooth or topological). I call $\bar{M}$ a compactification of $M$ if it is an $n$-dimensional compact manifold with boundary $\partial \bar{M}$, an ...