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 ...

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33
votes
0answers
844 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 ...
29
votes
0answers
2k views

Minimal volume of 4-manifolds

This question came up in a talk of Dieter Kotschick yesterday. The minimal volume of a manifold is the infimum of volumes of Riemannian metrics on the manifold with sectional curvatures bounded in ...
27
votes
0answers
1k views

What is the three-dimensional hyperbolic volume of a four-manifold?

Every smooth closed orientable 4-manifold may be constructed via a handle decomposition. Before asking a couple of questions, I recall some well-known facts about handle-decompositions of 4-manifolds. ...
23
votes
0answers
924 views

Manifolds admitting CW-structure with single n-cell

Let $M$ be a topological $n$-manifold, closed and connected (not necessarily oriented): When does $M$ not admit (up to homotopy-type) a CW-structure with a single $n$-cell? By classification of ...
21
votes
0answers
469 views

Smooth thickenings of non-smoothable manifolds

It is known that any closed topological manifold is homotopy equivalent to an open smooth manifold. Question 1. What can be said about the smallest dimension of a smooth manifold that is homotopy ...
21
votes
0answers
651 views

Boundaries of noncompact contractible manifolds

It is known that a manifold $B$ bounds a compact contractible topological manifold if and only if $B$ is a homology sphere. The "only if" direction follows by excising a small ball in the interior of ...
20
votes
0answers
301 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 ...
19
votes
0answers
275 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 ...
19
votes
0answers
557 views

Do there exist exotic 4-tori?

More precisely: are there known manifolds which are homeomorphic, but not diffeomorphic to the standard 4-torus? Are there any nice invariants distinguishing such manifolds? Related: if such a ...
19
votes
0answers
605 views

Which manifolds decompose into pants?

In this nice paper Mikhalkin uses certain (more geometrical than algebraic) aspects of tropical geometry to prove that every complex projective hypersurface in $\mathbb C \mathbb P ^n$ decomposes as a ...
18
votes
0answers
441 views

The oriented homeomorphism problem for Haken 3-manifolds

Haken famously described an algorithm to solve the homeomorphism problem for the 3-manifolds that bear his name (fleshed out by many others, including Hemion and Matveev who fixed some gaps). But ...
18
votes
0answers
688 views

Almost complex 4-manifolds with a “holomorphic” vector field

Main question. What is the class of smooth orientable 4-dimensional manifolds that admit an almost complex structure $J$ and a vector field v, that preserves $J$? The following sub question is ...
16
votes
0answers
434 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 ...
14
votes
0answers
624 views

Horrible sets and blowups in Hubbard's Teichmuller theory

Edit: I can rephrase this question this way: When blowing up every point in the $x$-axis in $\mathbb{C}^2$ by means of an inverse limit of finite blowups, how can anything be 'left over'? The horrible ...
13
votes
0answers
186 views

What do tangles teach us about braids?

A braid is a smooth level-preserving embedding $f\colon\, \{1,2,\ldots,n\}\times[0,1]\hookrightarrow \mathbb{R}^2 \times [0,1]$ such that $f(k,0)=(k,0)$ and $f(k,1) \in \{1,2,\ldots,n\} \times ...
13
votes
0answers
371 views

What is the determinant of Poincare duality?

For a complex $C^{\bullet}$ of finite dimensional vector spaces, one has a determinant $$|C^\bullet|:= \bigotimes \left(\Lambda^{top} C^i\right)^{(-1)^i}$$ functorial with respect to ...
13
votes
0answers
217 views

Approximating homeomorphisms of 2-disk by diffeomorphisms

Any homeomorphism of a compact surface can be approximated by diffeomorphisms. Is there a parametrized version of this result, where the parameter space is an $n$-disk? In other words, if $S$ is a ...
13
votes
0answers
320 views

Asymptotics for the number of triangulations of a manifold M

In Gromov's talk at the Clay Math Research from 23:23 to 25:55 Gromov says (slightly paraphrased) I want to emphasize a problem which comes from mathematical physics which is unsolved which is ...
13
votes
0answers
352 views

Polynomials with roots in convex position

Let $\mathcal P_n$ denote the set of all monic polynomials of degree $n$ with real or complex coefficients such that $P\in\mathcal P_n$ if for all $k\in\lbrace 0,1,\dots,n-2\rbrace$ the $n-k$ roots of ...
12
votes
0answers
351 views

Smooth 4-manifolds with $E_8$ intersection form

Does there exist a closed orientable smooth 4-manifold $M$ whose intersection form is the $E_8$-form? Here by the intersection form I mean the $\mathbb{Z}$-valued bilinear form on ...
12
votes
0answers
435 views

Does every connected set that is not a line segment cross some dyadic square?

A dyadic square is a subset of $R^2$ of the form $x + 2^{-n} [0,1]^2$ with $x \in 2^{-m} Z^2$, for integers $m,n \geq 0$. We say that a set $A$ crosses a square $S$ if there exists a connected subset ...
12
votes
0answers
285 views

rigidity of representations of dehn fillings on the figure eight knot

Consider a Dehn filling of the figure eight knot with coprime parameters (p,q) denoted by M. I am interested in the representation space of M in $SU_2$. I wonder wether all such representations are ...
11
votes
0answers
208 views

Fox re-imbedding theorem in dimension four

Fox re-imbedding theorem states the following: A compact 3-manifold $M$ with boundary that embeds in the three-sphere $S^3$, can be re-imbedded in $S^3$ so that its complement is a union of ...
11
votes
0answers
715 views

Hamiltonian cycles and fundamental groups

I'm interested in the interplay between the Hamiltonian cycles of graphs and the compact surfaces they embed in. I was doing some reading on the Lovász conjecture for Cayley graphs, I started noticing ...
11
votes
0answers
388 views

Codimension 2 foliations on simply connected 4-manifolds

Are there examples of codimension 2 foliations on simply connected compact 4-manifolds such that Every leaf is diffeomorphic to $\mathbb R^2$ Every leaf is dense? Same question for 5-manifolds ...
10
votes
0answers
307 views

3 manifolds with diffeomorphic unit tangent bundles

What can one say about two closed oriented 3-manifolds $M_1$ and $M_2$ such that $S^2 \times M_1$ is diffeomorphic to $S^2 \times M_2$?
10
votes
0answers
341 views

Can a composition with itself of a universal self-map be non-universal?

I have formulated (and published) the notion of a universal map (and of a universal morphism), and the problems below, in the early 1960-ies. DEFINITION   A continuous map   $u: ...
10
votes
0answers
496 views

Once differentiable, piecewise degree three polynomials on triangulated planar domains

Here is an easily described, but very difficult, problem that I (and a number of other people) really would like to see solved during our life times. The basic problem is to compute the dimension of ...
9
votes
0answers
191 views

Is the quotient map of the action of homeomorphisms on embeddings well-behaved?

It is well known that if $M$ and $N$ are smooth manifolds, the diffeomorphisms $Diff(M)$ act continuously on the smooth embeddings $Emb^{C^\infty}(M,N)$ by precomposition, if both are given the ...
9
votes
0answers
143 views

When were bordered Heegaard Floer homology's DA bimodules invented?

This is less of a strictly mathematical question and more of a reference request. In their paper "Bordered Heegaard Floer Homology (http://arxiv.org/pdf/0810.0687.pdf)," Lipshitz-Ozsvath-Thurston ...
9
votes
0answers
246 views

Provide a citation for the “spine lemma”?

I'm looking for a citable reference for the following (perhaps folkloric?) result on topological field theories. (There are obviously generalizations to other dimensions; I'm happy with just the ...
9
votes
0answers
200 views

Right-angled polytopes

%This question is motivated by the little discussion here at the bottom. The following thing are known about hyperbolic right-angled polytopes: Compact hyperbolic right-angled polytopes do not ...
9
votes
0answers
292 views

Is the connected sum of knots an isometry?

Take $X$ as the set of knots in the 3-sphere (i.e. smooth embeddings of $S^1$ in $S^3$ up to smooth isotopy), endowed with the Gordian distance $d$. For a fixed knot $K$ we can define the map ...
9
votes
0answers
512 views

Categorification of finite type invariants

Recall that finite type invariants are those numerical knots invariants vanishing on knots with enough singularities. The value of an invariant on a singular knots is computed using the Vassiliev ...
9
votes
0answers
318 views

Covering a subset by submanifolds

Let $K$ be a compact subset of a Euclidean space of very large dimension $N$. Assume that any point $x\in K$ has a neighborhood $U\subset K$ which is contained in a smooth $l$-dimensional submanifold ...
8
votes
0answers
125 views

Closed geodesics avoiding points in hyperbolic surfaces

Let $\Sigma$ be a closed hyperbolic surface. Is it true that for any finite collection of points $x_1,\ldots,x_n\in\Sigma$ there exists a closed geodesic $\gamma$ containing none of them? Remark: It ...
8
votes
0answers
141 views

Excluding exotic PL structures on S^4

Suppose you have a finite group $G<SO(5)$ such that $S^4/G$ is homeomorphic to $S^4$ and such that $S^4/G$ is a PL manifold with respect to a PL structure induced by a standard structure on $S^4$. ...
8
votes
0answers
185 views

Consequences of Zeeman's conjecture

Recall the Zeeman's conjecture: if $K$ is a contractible polyhedron of dimension 2, then $K\times I$ has a collapsible subdivision. Zeeman showed that this implies the Poincaré conjecture in ...
8
votes
0answers
158 views

Does the shortest path between two braids pass through string links?

One of the fundamental facts underlying the application of braid theory to knot theory is that braids inject into string links. This means that braids $B_1$ and $B_2$, considered inside a cube $I^3$, ...
8
votes
0answers
290 views

Space of embeddings of an $n$-ball into an $n$-manifold

Let $M$ be a smooth $n$-manifold without boundary, and let $B$ be the open unit ball in $\mathbb{R}^n$. I am trying to understand the space $\text{Emb}(B,M)$ of smooth embeddings of $B$ into $M$. ...
8
votes
0answers
129 views

Naive Reidemeister-Schreier for $\mathbb Z$ quotients

I have a question about a "standard" variant of the Reidemeister-Schreier algorithm used by topologists when manipulating manifolds they either know or suspect are fibre-bundles over $S^1$. Say you ...
8
votes
0answers
132 views

What sort of geometry does the Whitehead manifold have as a hypersurface in $\mathbb{R}^4$?

If I understand correctly, the standard $\mathbb{R}^4$ is diffeomorphic to $\mathbb{R}\times W$ where $W$ is the Whitehead manifold (i.e., is an open three-manifold that is contractible and not ...
8
votes
0answers
332 views

What is (explicitly) known about the SL(n,C) character varieties of 3-manifolds ?

The $SL(2,{\bf C})$ character variety of a 3-manifold with 1-cusp $M$ (like a knot complement in the 3-sphere) essentially coincide with the variety defined by the A-polynomial. Those polynomials are ...
8
votes
0answers
486 views

Pseudocycle definition of open Gromov-Witten invariants

I decided my original question was unnecessarily long, and have edited to simply ask the desired question directly (the below is much more direct than my original post, though it may seem just as ...
8
votes
0answers
340 views

is a group $G$, that admits finite $k(G, 1)$ and has no Baumslag-Solitar subgroups, necessarily hyperbolic?

This is the first question asked in Bestvina's article "Questions in Geometric Group Theory". Does anyone know if there has been any progress made on this problem? Is the question answered if $G$ is ...
7
votes
0answers
158 views

Alexander polynomial in branched covers

Suppose I am given a 3-manifold as a double branched cover over a link. Let a null-homologus knot in this space be given as a lift of an arc with endpoints on the link (it is automatically ...
7
votes
0answers
130 views

A forked plane continuum

I came up with this question while trying to solve the following MO one: Does every connected set that is not a line segment cross some dyadic square? Suppose $C$ is a plane continuum (i.e. a ...
7
votes
0answers
120 views

Topological restrictions from mean curvature bounds

Alexandrov's Theorem says that a compact constant mean curvature hypersurface embedded in $\mathbb{R}^{n+1}$ must be a round sphere. What happens when the mean curvature is small, or bounded? (For ...
7
votes
0answers
141 views

Real laminations on a 4-punctured sphere

Fix a triangulation $T$ of the 4-punctured sphere. (Formally, an ideal triangulation, but taking a combinatorial viewpoint, we may as well just fix a triangulation of the sphere with 4 vertices and ...
7
votes
0answers
140 views

The homology of the braid group with coefficients in the Burau representation

Let $B_n$ denote the braid group with $n$ braids. The Burau representation $B_n\to GL_n(\mathbb{Z}[t^{\pm1}])$ makes $(\mathbb{Q}[t^{\pm1}])^n$ a $B_n$-module. I am curious in knowing what $H_i(B_n, ...