# Tagged Questions

Topology of cell complexes and manifolds, classification of manifolds (e.g. smoothing, surgery), low dimensional topology (e.g. knot theory, invariants of 4-manifolds), embedding theory, combinatorial and PL topology, geometric group theory, infinite dimensional topology (e.g. Hilbert cube manifolds,...

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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### Are non-PL manifolds CW-complexes?

Can every topological (not necessarily smooth or PL) manifold be given the structure of a CW complex? I'm pretty sure that the answer is yes. However, I have not managed to find a reference for this....
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### What is Kirillov's method good for?

I am planing to study Kirillov's orbit method. I have seen Kirillov's method in several branch of mathematics, for instance, functional analysis, geometry, .... Why is this theory important for ...
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### 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 $(n-1)$-...
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### Which manifolds admit a diffeomorphism of order $n$?

Let $n>1$. Which smooth manifolds admit a diffeomorphism $f$ of order $n$? For a closed orientable surface $S_g$ of genus $g$ and $n=2$ the answer is in the affirmative, since $S_g$ can be ...
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### Questions about analogy between Spec Z and 3-manifolds

I'm not sure if the questions make sense: Conc. primes as knots and Spec Z as 3-manifold - fits that to the Poincare conjecture? Topologists view 3-manifolds as Kirby-equivalence classes of framed ...
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### Failure of smoothing theory for topological 4-manifolds

Smoothing theory fails for topological 4-manifolds, in that a smooth structure on a topological 4-manifold $M$ is not equivalent to a vector bundle structure on the tangent microbundle of $M$. Is ...
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### What are the open subsets of $\mathbb{R}^n$ that are diffeomorphic to $\mathbb{R}^n$

Hello, I would like to know if there is a known necessary and sufficient property on an open subset of $\mathbb{R}^n$ such that it is diffeomorphic to $\mathbb{R}^n$ : For example : 1) Are all ...
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### Fundamental groups of noncompact surfaces

I got fantastic answers to my previous question (about modern references for the fact that surfaces can be triangulated), so I thought I'd ask a related question. A basic fact about surface topology ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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? ...
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### 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 ...
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### Monoid structure of oriented manifolds with connect sum

Take the class of all compact, connected, boundaryless, smooth oriented $n$-dimensional manifolds, each taken up to orientation-preserving diffeomorphism. This is a commutative monoid with operation ...
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### Can the SL_2 character variety of a three-manifold be nonreduced?

Let $M^3$ be a three-manifold and consider the representation variety and the character variety of $M$: $$Y=\operatorname{Hom}(\pi_1(M^3),\operatorname{SL}(2,\mathbb C))$$ X=\operatorname{Hom}(\pi_1(...
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### Are there non-smoothable homotopy/homology spheres?

A homotopy sphere is a topological $n$-manifold $M$ which is homotopy equivalent to $S^n$. A homology sphere is a topological $n$-manifold $M$ such that $H_i(M) \cong H_i(S^n)$ for all $i$. Note, by ...
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### The boundary of a domain whose interior is diffeomorphic to the ball

We know that there are compact manifolds with diffeomorphic interiors but their boundaries are not homeomorphic (see the question Manifolds with homeomorphic interiors). My question is about a very ...
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### 3-manifolds with isomorphic fundamental groups

There are many non-homeomorphic 3-manifolds with isomorphic fundamental groups, for example the lens spaces $L(p,q_1)$ and $L(p,q_2)$ with $q_1 \ne \pm q_2^{\pm 1}\mod p$. Also, Seifert fibered spaces ...
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### The difference between a handle decomposition and a CW decomposition

Let $M$ be a compact finite-dimensional smooth manifold. I have a question about the relationship between the statements that a Morse function induces a handle decomposition for $M$, and that it ...
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### In knot theory: Benefits of working in $S^3$ instead of $\mathbb{R}^3$?

In several textbooks on knot theory (e.g. Lickorish's, Rolfsen's) knots are considered in $\mathbb{R}^3$ or $S^3$. The reason for working in $S^3$ is sometimes given at the beginning of a text as that ...
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### Are topological manifolds homotopy equivalent to smooth manifolds?

There exist topological manifolds which don't admit a smooth structure in dimensions > 3, but I haven't seen much discussion on homotopy type. It seems much more reasonable that we can find a smooth ...
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### Pach's “Animals”: What if the genus is positive?

Janos Pach asked a deep question 23 years ago (1988) that remains unsolved today: Can every animal—a topological ball in $\mathbb{R^3}$ composed of unit cubes glued face-to-face—be ...
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### Knot security (When to trust your life with a knot)

This question is related to a a question about self-tightening knots. I am supervising a senior thesis and my student is interested in knots. My student is also a rock climber and has an ...
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### Why do people study representations of 3-manifold groups into $SL(n,\mathbb{C})$?

Varieties of representations and characters of $3$-manifold groups in $SL(2,\mathbb{C})$ have been intensively studied. They have provided tools to identify geometric structures on manifolds, and are ...
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### 4D TQFT from a modular tensor category

I know the construction of a 3D topological quantum field theory (TQFT) from a modular tensor category. I heard that we can even (mathematically) construct 4D TQFT from a modular tensor category. I ...
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### Can knot diagrams be monotonically simplified using under moves?

It is well known that knot diagrams cannot be monotonically simplified using Reidemeister moves. For instance, the Goeritz unknot cannot be directly simplified. On the other hand, there is a stronger ...
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### homotopy type of embeddings versus diffeomorphisms

Previously, I asked a question on mathoverflow comparing smooth embeddings and diffeomorphisms, which received a very interesting and somewhat unexpected answer by Agol. I now ask a further question ...
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### Homotopy type of set of self homotopy-equivalences of a surface

Let $\Sigma$ be an oriented topological surface. For simplicity, assume that the genus of $\Sigma$ is at least $2$. There are a number of classical results on the homotopy types of various groups of ...