**162**

votes

**8**answers

8k views

### Two commuting mappings in the disk

Suppose that $f$ and $g$ are two commuting continuous mappings from the closed unit disk (or, if you prefer, the closed unit ball in $R^n$) to itself. Does there always exist a point $x$ such that $f(...

**137**

votes

**3**answers

7k views

### Is $\mathbb R^3$ 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 \...

**75**

votes

**9**answers

22k views

### solving $f(f(x))=g(x)$

This question is of course inspired by the question How to solve f(f(x))=cosx
and Joel David Hamkins' answer, which somehow gives a formal trick for solving equations of the form $f(f(x))=g(x)$ on a ...

**73**

votes

**4**answers

12k views

### Does the inverse function theorem hold for everywhere differentiable maps?

(This question was posed to me by a colleague; I was unable to answer it, so am posing it here instead.)
Let $f: {\bf R}^n \to {\bf R}^n$ be an everywhere differentiable map, and suppose that at each ...

**67**

votes

**7**answers

10k views

### Is the boundary $\partial S$ analogous to a derivative?

Without prethought, I mentioned in class once that the reason the symbol $\partial$
is used to represent the boundary operator in topology is
that its behavior is akin to a derivative.
But after ...

**67**

votes

**5**answers

5k 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 ...

**59**

votes

**5**answers

3k views

### How do the compact Hausdorff topologies sit in the lattice of all topologies on a set?

This question is about the space of all topologies on a
fixed set X. We may order the topologies by refinement, so
that τ ≤ σ just in case every τ open set is open in σ.
...

**58**

votes

**2**answers

5k views

### Is every sigma-algebra the Borel algebra of a topology?

This question arises from the excellent question posed on math.SE
by Salvo Tringali, namely, Correspondence
between Borel algebras and topology.
Since the question was not answered there after some ...

**53**

votes

**11**answers

6k views

### How should one think about non-Hausdorff topologies?

In most basic courses on general topology, one studies mainly Hausdorff spaces and finds that they fit quite well with our geometric intuition and generally, things work "as they should" (sequences/...

**52**

votes

**28**answers

5k 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, ...

**51**

votes

**2**answers

848 views

### Continuous maps which send intervals of $\mathbb{R}$ to convex subsets of $\mathbb{R}^2$

Let $f : \mathbb{R} \longrightarrow \mathbb{R}^2$ be a continuous map which sends any interval $I \subseteq \mathbb{R}$ to a convex subset $f(I)$ of $\mathbb{R}^2$. Is it true that there must be a ...

**50**

votes

**3**answers

3k views

### If any open set is a countable union of balls, does it imply separability?

If a metric space is separable, then any open set is a countable union of balls. Is the converse statement true?
UPDATE1. It is a duplicate of the question here
http://math.stackexchange.com/...

**47**

votes

**8**answers

5k 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 ...

**46**

votes

**9**answers

12k views

### Galois Groups vs. Fundamental Groups

In a recent blog post Terry Tao mentions in passing that:
"Class groups...are arithmetic analogues of the (abelianised) fundamental groups in topology, with Galois groups serving as the analogue of ...

**46**

votes

**16**answers

8k views

### Atiyah-Singer index theorem

Every year or so I make an attempt to "really" learn the Atiyah-Singer index theorem. I always find that I give up because my analysis background is too weak -- most of the sources spend a lot of ...

**45**

votes

**2**answers

4k 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 ...

**43**

votes

**9**answers

5k views

### understanding Steenrod squares

There is a function on $\mathbb{Z}/2\mathbb{Z}$-cohomology called Steenrod squaring: $Sq^i:H^k(X,\mathbb{Z}/2\mathbb{Z}) \to H^{k+i}(X,\mathbb{Z}/2\mathbb{Z})$. (Coefficient group suppressed from ...

**43**

votes

**4**answers

3k 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 ...

**42**

votes

**8**answers

4k views

### Non-homeomorphic spaces that have continuous bijections between them

What are nice examples of topological spaces $X$ and $Y$ such that $X$ and $Y$ are not homeomorphic but there do exist continuous bijections $f: X \mapsto Y$ and $g: Y \mapsto X$?

**41**

votes

**7**answers

3k views

### Is there an algebraic approach to metric spaces?

It is well known that most topological spaces can be studied via their algebra of continuous real-valued (or complex-valued) functions. For instance, in the setting of compact Hausdorff spaces, there ...

**41**

votes

**7**answers

5k views

### “Algebraic” topologies like the Zariski topology?

The fact that a commutative ring has a natural topological space associated with it is still a really interesting coincidence. The entire subject of Algebraic geometry is based on this simple fact.
...

**41**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### Duality between Compactness and Hausdorffness

Consider a non-empty set $X$ and its complete lattice of topologies
(see also this thread).
The discrete topology is Hausdorff. Every topology that is finer than a Hausdorff topology is also ...

**41**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Does there exist a bijection of $\mathbb{R}^n$ with itself such that the forward map is connected but the inverse is not?

Let $(X,\tau), (Y,\sigma)$ be two topological spaces. We say that a map $f: \mathcal{P}(X)\to \mathcal{P}(Y)$ between their power sets is connected if for every $S\subset X$ connected, $f(S)\subset Y$ ...

**40**

votes

**10**answers

2k views

### Notions of convergence not corresponding to topologies

This question concerns the ramifications of the following interesting problem that
appeared on Ed Nelson's final exam on Functional Analysis some years ago:
Exam question: Is there a metric on the ...

**40**

votes

**3**answers

3k views

### Independent evidence for the classification of topological 4-manifolds?

Is there any evidence for the classification of topological 4-manifolds, aside from Freedman's 1982 paper "The topology of four-dimensional manifolds", Journal of Differential Geometry 17(3) 357–453? ...

**39**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Is $\mathbb{R}^3 \setminus \mathbb{Q}^3$ simply connected?

Similarly is the complement of any countable set in $\mathbb R^3$ simply connected?
Reading around I found plenty of articles discussing the path connectedness $\mathbb R^2 \setminus \mathbb Q^2$ and ...

**38**

votes

**3**answers

9k views

### Properly Discontinuous Action

When looking definition, and theorems related to Properly discontinuous action of a group $G$ on a topological space $X$, it is different in different books (Topology and Geometry-Bredon, Complex ...

**38**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Every real function has a dense set on which its restriction is continuous

The title says it all: if $f\colon \mathbb{R} \to \mathbb{R}$ is any real function, there exists a dense subset $D$ of $\mathbb{R}$ such that $f|_D$ is continuous.
Or so I'm told, but this leaves me ...

**38**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Can the Lawvere fixed point theorem be used to prove the Brouwer fixed point theorem?

The Lawvere fixed point theorem asserts that if $X, Y$ are objects in a category with finite products such that the exponential $Y^X$ exists, and if $f : X \to Y^X$ is a morphism which is surjective ...

**38**

votes

**0**answers

4k views

### Grothendieck's manuscript on topology

Edit: Infos on the current state by Lieven Le Bruyn: http://www.neverendingbooks.org/grothendiecks-gribouillis
Edit: Just in case anyone still thinks that Grothendieck's unpublished manuscripts are (...

**37**

votes

**5**answers

3k views

### Does homology have a coproduct?

Standard algebraic topology defines the cup product which defines a ring structure on the cohomology of a topological space. This ring structure arises because cohomology is a contravariant functor ...

**36**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### Does Euclidean space have a compact factor?

Is $\mathbb{R}^n$ homeomorphic to a product $X \times Y$ with $X$ compact and not a point?
Bing's Dogbone space is a quotient of $\mathbb{R}^3$ with fibers points and arcs, and whose product with $\...

**36**

votes

**6**answers

2k views

### Why the “W” in CGWH (compactly generated weakly Hausdorff spaces)?

In his 1967 paper A convenient category of topological spaces,
Norman Steenrod introduced the category CGH of compactly generated Hausdorff spaces
as a good replacement of the category Top topological ...

**34**

votes

**7**answers

7k views

### Is there a measure zero set which isn't meagre?

A subset of ℝ is meagre if it is a countable union of nowhere dense subsets (a set is nowhere dense if every open interval contains an open subinterval that misses the set).
Any countable set ...

**34**

votes

**3**answers

3k 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. $\...

**34**

votes

**4**answers

3k views

### Are the rationals homeomorphic to any power of the rationals?

I asked myself, which spaces have the property that $X^2$ is homeomorphic to $X$. I started to look at some examples like $\mathbb{N}^2 \cong \mathbb{N}$, $\mathbb{R}^2\ncong \mathbb{R}, C^2\cong C$ (...

**34**

votes

**7**answers

3k views

### Why should algebraic objects have naturally associated topological spaces? (Formerly: What is a topological space?)

In this question, Harry Gindi states:
The fact that a commutative ring has a natural topological space associated with it is a really interesting coincidence.
Moreover, in the answers, Pete L. ...

**34**

votes

**5**answers

3k views

### Does “compact iff projections are closed” require some form of choice?

There are many equivalent ways of defining the notion of compact space, but some require some kind of choice principle to prove their equivalence. For example, a classical result is that for $X$ to be ...

**34**

votes

**4**answers

3k views

### Which topological spaces admit a nonstandard metric?

My question is about the concept of nonstandard metric space that would arise from a use of the nonstandard reals R* in place of the usual R-valued metric.
That is, let us define that a topological ...

**33**

votes

**4**answers

4k views

### Fundamental group as topological group

Background
Let $(X,x)$ be a pointed topological space. Then the fundamental group $\pi_1(X,x)$ becomes a topological space: Endow the set of maps $S^1 \to X$ with the compact-open topology, endow the ...

**33**

votes

**1**answer

811 views

### A Topology such that the continuous functions are exactly the polynomials

(I originally asked this question on Math.SE, where it received a lot of attention, but no solution.)
Which fields $K$ can be equipped with a topology such that a function $f:K \to K$ is continuous ...

**32**

votes

**4**answers

3k views

### How far is Lindelöf from compactness?

A while ago I heard of a nice characterization of compactness but I have never seen a written source of it, so I'm starting to doubt it. I'm looking for a reference, or counterexample, for the ...

**32**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Are there only countably many compact topological manifolds?

Up to homeomorphism, there are 2 one-dimensional topological manifolds and countably many 2- and 3-dimensional compact manifolds, respectively, since each manifold in these dimensions can be ...

**32**

votes

**1**answer

816 views

### Homeomorphisms and disjoint unions

Let $X$ and $Y$ be compact subsets of $\mathbb{R}^n$. Assume that $X \sqcup X \cong Y \sqcup Y$ (here $X \sqcup X$ is the disjoint union of two copies of $X$, considered as a topological space, and ...

**32**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### Continuous bijections vs. Homeomorphisms

This is motivated by an old question of Henno Brandsma.
Two topological spaces $X$ and $Y$ are said to be bijectively related, if there exist continuous bijections $f:X \to Y$ and $g:Y \to X$. Let´...

**32**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Bidi: A new cardinal characteristic of the continuum?

This question assumes familiarity with combinatorial cardinal
characteristics of the continuum.
Identify an infinite set $a\subseteq\mathbb{N}$ with its increasing
enumeration. Thus, for each natural ...

**31**

votes

**2**answers

3k views

### “Transitivity” of the Stone-Cech compactification

Let $\beta \mathbb{N}$ be the Stone-Cech compactification of the natural numbers $\mathbb{N}$, and let $x, y \in \beta \mathbb{N} \setminus \mathbb{N}$ be two non-principal elements of this ...

**30**

votes

**4**answers

1k views

### Connectedness in the language of path-connectedness

Is there a topological space $(C,\tau_C)$ and two points $c_0\neq c_1\in C$ such that the following holds?
A space $(X,\tau)$ is connected if and only if for all $x,y\in X$ there is a ...