**34**

votes

**5**answers

3k 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 ...

**37**

votes

**3**answers

4k views

### $C^1$ isometric embedding of flat torus into $\mathbb{R}^3$

I read (in a paper by Emil Saucan) that the flat torus may be isometrically embedded
in $\mathbb{R}^3$ with a $C^1$ map by the Kuiper extension of the Nash Embedding Theorem,
a claim repeated in this ...

**23**

votes

**10**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 ...

**87**

votes

**16**answers

11k 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 ...

**42**

votes

**7**answers

5k 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 ...

**6**

votes

**2**answers

631 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 ...

**10**

votes

**1**answer

477 views

### When is a given matrix of two forms a curvature form?

Let's assume we are working over $\mathbb{R}^n$ (but feel free to change to domain to answer the question). I wish to know if the equation $F = dA + A \wedge A$ can be solved for a matrix of $1$-forms ...

**3**

votes

**1**answer

351 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, ...

**3**

votes

**1**answer

565 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, ...

**109**

votes

**16**answers

15k 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 ...

**52**

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 ...

**28**

votes

**3**answers

3k 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 ...

**12**

votes

**5**answers

3k 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 ...

**25**

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 ...

**10**

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 ...

**8**

votes

**8**answers

2k views

### Maxwells equations and differential forms

Hi,
is there a textbooks that explains the maxwell equations in differential form?
What I understood so far is, that the $E$ and $B$ fields can be assembled to
a differential 2 Form $F$, and the ...

**17**

votes

**2**answers

965 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 : ...

**23**

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. ...

**19**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### Intuition behind the ricci flow

I hope you don't shoot me for this question.
I try to understand among other things the Ricci flow. However I have no idea of the intuition behind the definition. So my questions is:
What is the ...

**12**

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 ...

**11**

votes

**3**answers

680 views

### Characterizing Hessians among symmetric bilinear tensors

I apologize in advance if this is somewhat elementary, but:
Let $(M,g)$ be a compact Riemannian manifold. Is there a "characterization" of which symmetric bilinear tensors $B\in Sym^2(M)$ are ...

**10**

votes

**2**answers

1k 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 ...

**24**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Strong Whitney embedding theorem for non-compact manifolds

$\newcommand{\RR}{\mathbb{R}}$The present question arises from some confusion on my part regarding the precise statement of the strong Whitney embedding theorem for non-compact manifolds.
The strong ...

**25**

votes

**4**answers

1k 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
...

**18**

votes

**2**answers

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 ...

**11**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### Maps inducing zero on homotopy groups but are not null-homotopic

Today my fellow grad student asked me a question, given a map f from X to Y, assume $f_*(\pi_i(X))=0$ in Y, when is f null-homotopic?
I search the literature a little bit, D.W.Kahn
...

**28**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### What is the best way to peel fruit?

A mango made me wonder about this. (See also this question, which is in a similar spirit.)
Fix $L >0$ and a smooth body (possibly nonconvex—pears or bananas are fair game!) $B \subset ...

**19**

votes

**5**answers

1k 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 ...

**12**

votes

**3**answers

936 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 $\textrm{Diff}(M)$ ...

**5**

votes

**1**answer

181 views

### Intuition for thinking about $R$-module of Kähler differentials, universal receptacles, derivations?

Suppose $k$ is a field of characteristic zero, and $R$ is a $k$-algebra. The $R$-module of Kähler differentials $\Omega_{R/k}$ of $R$ over $k$ with generators $\{dr\}_{r \in R}$ is the module subject ...

**14**

votes

**3**answers

930 views

### Poincare lemma for non-smooth differentiable forms

The Poincare lemma is almost always formulated for differential forms with smooth coefficients (or sometimes for currents that have distributional coefficients). I would like to have it for ...

**11**

votes

**3**answers

648 views

### How to draw a Zoll surface?

I take into account that lots of questions on Zoll surfaces have already been asked on the forum. But I will stubbornly continue asking. Are there any chances to draw explicitely at least one Zoll ...

**8**

votes

**2**answers

369 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 ...

**6**

votes

**1**answer

320 views

### When is the hull of a space curve composed of developable patches?

Let $C$ be a smooth curve in $\mathbb{R}^3$ that lies entirely on its convex hull,
$\cal{H}(C)$.
Under what conditions on $C$ is $\cal{H}(C)$ the union of developable surface patches?
I believe ...

**4**

votes

**1**answer

202 views

### Equivalence of the construction of the Lagrangian in a book of Sternberg to the “usual” construction

I have a question regarding the following cited text from [1]:
Let $F$ be a representation of the structure group $G$ of the principal bundle $P_G\to M$ (a (semi-)Riemannian manifold), and let ...

**4**

votes

**0**answers

238 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
$$
...

**2**

votes

**3**answers

412 views

### Classification of $SU(2)$ principal fibre bundles over four-dimensional manifolds

I would like to find a pedagogical reference where the classification, up to isomorphism, of principal $SU(2)$ bundles over a four-dimensional compact, oriented manifold is explained. In particular I ...

**3**

votes

**1**answer

237 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

**0**answers

490 views

### The Stiefel-Whitney and Pontryagin classes of SO(3)-bundles

Consider $SO(n)$ bundles over smooth manifolds. Then using the fact that the Stiefel-Whitney classes are the modulo 2 reductions of the Chern classes, one can prove $w_{2i}^2(E) = p_i(E) \bmod 2$. Now ...

**2**

votes

**1**answer

154 views

### Inverse Problem for Pullback

Let $M$ and $N$ be smooth manifolds and $T: M \to N$ be a smooth map. Let $ \mathcal{F}(M,\mathbb{R})$ (resp.$ \mathcal{F}(N,\mathbb{R})$) denote the space of smooth functions from $M$ (resp. $N$) ...

**1**

vote

**1**answer

329 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

300 views

### Symmetry on a sphere

Let $u$ be a smooth function on the sphere $S^2$. Suppose there exists $C>0$ such that for all $R \in SO(3)$, the area of every connected component of $\{x\in S^2: u(x)> u(Rx)\}$ is at least ...

**1**

vote

**2**answers

493 views

### Isometric embeddings of metric spaces in Hilbert spaces

There are plenty of isometric embeddings of metric spaces in Banach spaces. Nevertheless, I have been unable to find any significant result on isometric embeddings into Hilbert spaces. My question is: ...

**1**

vote

**1**answer

311 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 ...

**66**

votes

**17**answers

9k 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 ...

**64**

votes

**5**answers

4k views

### Is there a sheaf theoretical characterization of a differentiable manifold?

I'm going through the crisis of being unhappy with the textbook definition of a differentiable manifold. I'm wondering whether there is a sheaf-theoretic approach which will make me happier. In a ...

**61**

votes

**11**answers

15k views

### why study Lie algebras?

I don't mean to be rude asking this question, I know that the theory of Lie groups and Lie algebras is a very deep one, very aesthetic and that has broad applications in various areas of mathematics ...

**57**

votes

**16**answers

6k 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 ...

**24**

votes

**14**answers

24k views

### Reading list for basic differential geometry?

I'd like to ask if people can point me towards good books or notes to learn some basic differential geometry. I work in representation theory mostly and have found that sometimes my background is ...

**61**

votes

**6**answers

6k 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 ...