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
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728 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 ...
27
votes
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1k 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 ...
25
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895 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. ...
22
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430 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 ...
20
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563 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 ...
19
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411 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
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723 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 ...
18
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654 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 ...
17
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507 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 ...
17
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801 views

Fake versus Exotic

Without recourse to the Disc Theorem (or its progeny), is it true that all known examples of exotic differentiable structures on 4-manifolds would be fake rather than exotic? Terminology (perhaps ...
15
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348 views

Does there exist a surface bundle over a surface of genus at least 2 that fibers in three distinct ways?

Let $$ \Sigma_g \to E \to \Sigma_h $$ be a surface bundle over a surface. Unless otherwise stated, I'll assume $g, h \ge 2$. The theory of Thurston norm shows that surface bundles over $S^1$ often ...
15
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379 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
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337 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 ...
14
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597 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 ...
14
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414 views

Do mapping classes have gonality?

(This question was discussed by people at the PCMI workshop on moduli spaces, without any clear resolution, so I thought I'd throw it open to MO.) The hyperelliptic mapping class group is (by ...
13
votes
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206 views

Shortest Casson tower containing a slice disk for the attaching curve

A Casson tower is obtained as follows: Start with a properly immersed disk in $\mathbb{B}^4$ - a regular neighborhood of such a disk is called a kinky handle. The boundary of the core disk ...
13
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303 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 ...
12
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273 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
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366 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 ...
11
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609 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 ...
10
votes
0answers
155 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 ...
10
votes
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480 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 ...
10
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371 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 ...
9
votes
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89 views

Wanted: a nontrivial weakly inadmissible Heegaard diagram

This is a question asked by a student in my lecture. After drawing pictures for awhile, I thought it was a good one. I seek a nontrivial example of a pointed Heegaard diagram ...
9
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222 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
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162 views

Embedding of products of projective spaces into a projective space

Does anybody know estimates on the minimal dimension $k$ for which the product $P^n \times P^m$ can be smoothly embedded into $P^k$? I am interested in projective spaces over $\mathbb RR$ and $\mathbb ...
9
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277 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 $S^2 \times M_2$?
9
votes
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274 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
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312 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 ...
9
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294 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 ...
8
votes
0answers
124 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
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123 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
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233 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: ...
8
votes
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440 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 ...
8
votes
0answers
547 views

Building an $n$-toroid from cubes

I wonder if this has been studied: What is the fewest number of unit cubes from which one can build an $n$-toroid? The cubes must be glued face-to-face, and the boundary of the resulting ...
8
votes
0answers
274 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
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431 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
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0answers
284 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
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136 views

Why is it hard to obtain improved $L^6$ bound of eigenfunction of Laplacian on 2-dimensional compact Riemannian manifold?

Consider the $L^p$ estimate of the Laplacian on a compact boundaryless Riemannian manifold, suppose that $-\Delta_ge_{\lambda}=\lambda^2e_\lambda(x), x\in M$. C.D. Sogge proved that we have the ...
7
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131 views

PL surface projections - is there a theory of folds and cusps?

For smooth surfaces, the generic singularities of a map of one surface to another are folds and cusps (Whitney). It is a standard result in singularity theory that the generic isotopy of such a map is ...
7
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212 views

What is the historical connection between Zeeman's twist spinning and Fox's Examples?

Both Ralph Fox and (at that time, yet to be knighted) Sir Christopher Zeeman attended the 1961 Georgia topology conference. Fox's paper from that conference was his seminal work, "A Quick Trip through ...
7
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198 views

What is known about the Yang-Mills stratification over 3-manifolds?

Rade proved in his thesis (Crelle's Journal, 1992, available here: digizeitschriften.de/dms/toc/?PPN=PPN243919689) that if $E\rightarrow M$ is a $U(n)$-bundle over a 3-manifold, then the gradient flow ...
7
votes
0answers
440 views

Embeddings without nonvanishing normal vector fields

For which values of $n$ does there exist an embedding of a smooth compact manifold $M\hookrightarrow R^n$ into $n$-dimensional Euclidean space such that the normal bundle to $M$ has no nonvanishing ...
7
votes
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266 views

Directed arcs on a surface

This question is a little odd. I have specific class of structures on a surface, which satisfy several nice properties, and I want to know if they are more natural geometric structures in disguise ...
6
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60 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 ...
6
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0answers
141 views

Linked circles in R3

Two circles in 3-D are linked iff each one passes through the interior of the other. There are $N$ points in 3-D in general position (no four lie on a plane). Each triple of points defines a unique ...
6
votes
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107 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 $I^3$, ...
6
votes
0answers
156 views

Reference Request: Topological h-cobordism theorem in higher dimensions

I think this question on math.stackexchange is more appropriate on mathoverflow. Correct me, if you don't think so. The h-cobordism theorem is true in the topological and in the smooth category in ...
6
votes
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111 views

Is there an analogue of Mostow-Palais equivariant embedding theorem for noncompact groups

Let $M$ be a (Hausdorff) smooth compact manifold and $G$ a Lie group acting smoothly on $M$. If $G$ is compact then, by Mostow-Palais theorem, there exists an equivariant smooth embedding $M\to ...
6
votes
0answers
226 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 $M$. ...