**39**

votes

**11**answers

4k 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 ...

**17**

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 ...

**18**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### finite generated group realized as fundamental group of manifolds

This is discussed in the standard textbooks on algebraic topology.
Pick a presentation of the group $G = \langle g_1,g_2,...,g_n|r_1,r_2,...r_m \rangle$
where $g_i$ are generators and $r_j$ are ...

**42**

votes

**8**answers

4k 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 ...

**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 ...

**42**

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 ...

**32**

votes

**7**answers

3k 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 ...

**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 ...

**19**

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)) ...

**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 ...

**14**

votes

**3**answers

1k 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
?

**19**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### Proof of the Reidemeister theorem

While preparing for my introduction to topology course, I've realized that I don't know where to find a detailed proof of the Reidemeister theorem (two link diagrams give isotopic links, iff they can ...

**16**

votes

**0**answers

453 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 ...

**10**

votes

**5**answers

958 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 ...

**10**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Example of Noetherian group (every subgroup is finitely generated) that is not finitely presented

A Noetherian group (also sometimes called slender groups) is a group for which every subgroup is finitely generated. (Equivalently, it satisfies the ascending chain condition on subgroups).
A ...

**104**

votes

**2**answers

10k 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 ...

**40**

votes

**13**answers

6k 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 ...

**29**

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

6k 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?

**28**

votes

**6**answers

4k 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 ...

**22**

votes

**6**answers

2k 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 ...

**33**

votes

**9**answers

7k 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 ...

**34**

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. ...

**36**

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 $M$?
...

**9**

votes

**6**answers

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 ...

**25**

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 ...

**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 ...

**37**

votes

**2**answers

2k 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 ...

**33**

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 ...

**14**

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 ...

**34**

votes

**1**answer

1k 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 ...

**10**

votes

**3**answers

626 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 ...

**33**

votes

**3**answers

2k 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? ...

**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, ...

**21**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### Kervaire invariant: Why dimension 126 especially difficult?

Is there any resource that might help non-experts gains some understanding of why
the Kervaire invariant problem remains open now only in dimension $126$? ($126 =2^7-2=2^{j+1}-2$;
whether ...

**17**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### Cohomology of fibrations over the circle: how to compute the ring structure?

This question is inspired by Cohomology of fibrations over the circle Moreover, it can be considered a subquestion of the above, but somehow it seems to me that some of the more interesting points ...

**14**

votes

**6**answers

2k views

### Diffeomorphism of 3-manifolds

Surgery theory aims to measure the difference between simple homotopy types and diffeomorphism types. In 3 dimensions, geometrization achieves something much more nuanced than that. Still, I wonder ...

**12**

votes

**2**answers

984 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 ...

**23**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Why are there no wild arcs in the plane?

On math.stackexchange it was asked whether all arcs in the plane are ambient-isotopic. I suggested that one could prove this by appealing to the Schönflies theorem, which you can do as long as you can ...

**19**

votes

**0**answers

303 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 ...

**16**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### connectivity of the group of orientation-preserving homeomorphisms of the sphere

In the paper "Local Contractions and a Theorem of Poincare" Sternberg has mentioned the following question which was open when the paper was written:
Is the group of orientation-preserving ...

**16**

votes

**5**answers

1k 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 ...

**33**

votes

**0**answers

879 views

### Homotopy type of TOP(4)/PL(4)

It is known (e.g. the Kirby-Siebenmann book) that $\mathrm{TOP}(n)/\mathrm{PL}(n)\simeq K({\mathbb Z}/2,3)$ for $n>4$. I believe it is also known (Freedman-Quinn) that ...

**17**

votes

**2**answers

763 views

### Is there a discrete Cerf theory?

Towards the end of the 1990's, Robin Forman developed a discrete version of Morse theory, which concerns maps from a simplicial complex to $\mathbb{R}$ satisfying a combinatorial analogue to the ...

**14**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### Fundamental group of 3-manifold with boundary

Is it true that any finitely presented group can be realized as fundamental group of compact 3-manifold with boundary?

**21**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### Elevator pitch for the Virtual Fibering Theorem

There has been a great deal of excitement among topologists about the proof of the Virtual Haken Theorem, and in fact of the Virtual Fibering Theorem (for closed hyperbolic 3-manifolds, but I'm ...

**20**

votes

**2**answers

672 views

### Manifolds with homeomorphic interiors

Suppose that two compact topological manifolds with boundary have homeomorphic interiors. Can we conclude that the two manifolds are homeomorphic? What happens in the smooth category?

**14**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### De Rham decomposition theorem, generalisations and good references

De Rham decomposition theorem states that every simply-connected Riemannian manifold $M$
that admits complementary sub-bundles $T'(M)$ and $T''(M)$ of its tangent bundle parallel with respect to the ...

**14**

votes

**2**answers

876 views

### Exotic spheres and stable homotopy in all large dimensions?

Given that the kervaire invariant one problem has been solved in (almost) all dimensions....my question is whether there exists an exotic sphere in all sufficently lagre dimensions? Given the ...

**13**

votes

**1**answer

531 views

### Does Gromov's Waist Inequality imply Borsuk-Ulam?

I'm curious if anyone can see a route to get the Borsuk-Ulam theorem from Gromov's waist inequality. For the sake of notation, here's the inequality:
Let $S^n$ denote the round unit sphere in ...