**46**

votes

**11**answers

5k views

### 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 ...

**38**

votes

**3**answers

4k 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 ...

**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 ...

**19**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### 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....

**16**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### 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 ...

**17**

votes

**2**answers

847 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 $(n-1)$-...

**12**

votes

**5**answers

1k views

### 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 ...

**42**

votes

**8**answers

5k views

### 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 ...

**23**

votes

**6**answers

3k views

### 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 ...

**39**

votes

**7**answers

4k views

### 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 ...

**30**

votes

**5**answers

3k views

### 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 ...

**10**

votes

**3**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 ...

**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? ...

**28**

votes

**1**answer

2k 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 ...

**20**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### Complete knot invariant?

I've seen a couple papers (that I now can't find) that say that in his paper "On irreducible 3-manifolds which are sufficiently large" Waldhausen proved that the data $\pi_1(\partial (S^3\setminus K)) ...

**14**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### When are (finite) simplicial complexes (smooth) manifolds?

Hi,
is there an algorithm that determines if a given simplicial complex is
a.) a manifold
b.) a smooth manifold
c.) homotopy equivalent to a manifold
d.) a real algebraic variety
?

**17**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### Compactification theorem for differentiable manifolds ?

Just parallelling this question, that seemed not to admit an easy answer at all, let's "soft down" the category and ask the same thing in the case of $\mathcal{C}^{\infty}$-differentiable manifolds [...

**29**

votes

**1**answer

596 views

### Classifiying sphere eversions

For a year I have been giving lectures on a (probalby) new way to present an explicit sphere eversion. These lectures include a review of many other explicit eversions that have been described, as ...

**27**

votes

**1**answer

556 views

### Nilpotence of the stable Hopf map via framed cobordism

The Pontryagin-Thom construction shows that the stable homotopy groups of spheres are the same as the groups of stably framed manifolds up to cobordism. Specifically the Hopf map corresponds to the ...

**14**

votes

**3**answers

948 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 ...

**16**

votes

**0**answers

520 views

### 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 ...

**15**

votes

**1**answer

627 views

### 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(...

**11**

votes

**1**answer

293 views

### 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 ...

**10**

votes

**2**answers

487 views

### 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 ...

**8**

votes

**1**answer

347 views

### 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 ...

**6**

votes

**1**answer

391 views

### Bott's Formula for Grassmannians

Bott's Formula gives the dimension of the cohomology $H^{q}(\mathbb{P}^{n}, \Omega_{\mathbb{P}^{n}}^{p}(k))$ of the $k$-twisted sheaf of $p$-differential forms on the projective space $\mathbb{P}_{\...

**2**

votes

**1**answer

115 views

### Under which conditions is it possible to find points with same distances under bi-Lipschitz map [closed]

Given two metric spaces $(X,d_X), (Y, d_Y)$, a bi-Lipschitz map $f:X \to Y$ and a finite set of points $\{x_1, \ldots, x_n\} \in X$. Consider in addition, that $X$ is a vector space over $\mathbb{R}$, ...

**112**

votes

**2**answers

11k views

### What are the shapes of rational functions?

I would like to understand and compute the shapes of rational functions, that is, holomorphic maps of the Riemann sphere to itself, or equivalently, ratios of two polynomials, up to Moebius ...

**45**

votes

**14**answers

7k views

### What are some of the big open problems in 3-manifold theory?

From what I understand, the geometrization theorem and its proof helped to settle a lot of outstanding questions about the geometry and topology of 3-manifolds, but there still seems to be quite a lot ...

**58**

votes

**1**answer

5k views

### The mathematical theory of Feynman integrals

It is well known that Feynman integrals are one of the tools that physicists have and mathematicians haven't, sadly.
Arguably, they are the most important such tool. Briefly, the question I'd like to ...

**35**

votes

**9**answers

4k views

### Classification problem for non-compact manifolds

Background
It is well-known that the compact two-dimensional manifolds are completely classified (by their orientability and their Euler characteristic).
I'm also under the impression that there is ...

**16**

votes

**9**answers

8k views

### Teichmuller Theory introduction

What is a good introduction to Teichmuller theory, mapping class groups etc., and relation to moduli space of curves or Riemann surfaces?

**44**

votes

**10**answers

9k views

### Nice proof of the Jordan curve theorem?

As a student, I was taught that the Jordan curve theorem is a great example of an intuitively clear statement which has no simple proof.
What is the simplest known proof today?
Is there an intuitive ...

**29**

votes

**6**answers

5k views

### Triangulating surfaces

I've had a few undergraduate students ask me for references for the classical fact (due to Rado) that closed topological surfaces can be triangulated. I know two sources for this, namely Ahlfors's ...

**36**

votes

**6**answers

3k views

### Status of PL topology

I posted this question on math stackexchange but received no answers. Since I know there are more people knowledgeable in geometric and piecewise-linear (PL) topology here, I'm reposting the question. ...

**32**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### Drawing of the eight Thurston geometries?

Do you know of a picture, drawing, or other concise visual representation of the eight three-dimensional Thurston geometries?
I am imagining something akin to the standard picture (of a sphere, ...

**38**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### To which extent can one recover a manifold from its group of homeomorphisms

Question. Suppose that $M$ is a closed connected topological manifold and $G$ is its group of homeomorphisms (with compact-open topology). Does $G$ (as a topological group) uniquely determine $M$?
...

**25**

votes

**3**answers

838 views

### Do finite groups acting on a ball have a fixed point?

Suppose that $G$ is a finite group, acting via homeomorphisms on $B^n$, the closed $n$-dimensional ball. Does $G$ have a fixed point?
A fixed point for $G$ is a point $p \in B^n$ where for all $g \...

**23**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### 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 ...

**33**

votes

**9**answers

2k views

### 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 ...

**22**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### 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 ...

**34**

votes

**1**answer

2k views

### 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 ...

**34**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### 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 ...

**30**

votes

**4**answers

1k views

### 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 ...

**19**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### 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 ...

**39**

votes

**2**answers

3k views

### 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 ...

**12**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### 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 ...

**12**

votes

**3**answers

668 views

### 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 ...

**31**

votes

**3**answers

4k views

### Mazur's unpublished manuscript on primes and knots?

The story of the analogy between knots and primes, which now has a literature, started with an unpublished note by Barry Mazur.
I'm not absolutely sure this is the one I mean, but in his paper, ...

**19**

votes

**0**answers

348 views

### Topological description of inverting a knot

The first figure shows an offset overhand knot. To tie it, you simply bring the two cords together and make an overhand knot in them. It's more secure than it looks, and several climbers have been ...