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41
votes
8answers
3k views

What are the uses of the homotopy groups of spheres?

Pete Clark threw down the challenge in his comment to my answer on Why the heck are the homotopy groups of the sphere so damn complicated?: Have the homotopy groups of spheres ever been applied to ...
23
votes
1answer
2k views

What is so “spectral” about spectra?

What is the background of the terminology of spectra in homotopy theory? In what extend does the name "spectrum" fit to the definition and the properties? Also, are there relations to other spectra in ...
26
votes
4answers
1k views

Integral cohomology (stable) operations

There have been a couple questions on MO, and elsewhere, that have made me curious about integral or rational cohomology operations. I feel pretty familiar with the classical Steenrod algebra and its ...
6
votes
1answer
814 views

Homotopy pullbacks of simplicial spaces, and Bousfield-Friedlander

Let $X_\bullet \longrightarrow Y_\bullet \longleftarrow Z_\bullet$ be a diagram of simplicial spaces (=bisimplicial sets, if you like). On p. 14-9 of these notes there is an example which shows that ...
7
votes
2answers
954 views

How should I think about delooping?

When talking about the Eilenberg-Maclane space $K(G,n)$, we usually restrict our attention to the situation where $G$ is abelian. In that case, we get $\Omega K(G,n)=K(G,n-1)$, so we can call ...
3
votes
2answers
458 views

A fibrant-objects structure on Top

(Sorry for the crossposting, but I'm really interested in this question). One can define (Paragraph 1.5, page 10) a fibrant-object structure on a suitable cartesian closed category of topological ...
5
votes
1answer
659 views

A problem on infinite dimensional metric space

Let $(X_{n},d_{n})_{n \in \mathbb{N}}$ be a sequence of complete geodesic metric spaces such that: $X_{n}$ is a regular$^1$ CW-complex of constant local dimension$^3$ $n$, it is of finite ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Whitehead for maps

I made the following claim over at the Secret Blogging Seminar, and now I'm not sure it's true: Let f: X --> Y and g: X --> Y be two maps betwen finite CW complexes. If f and g induce the same map on ...
6
votes
2answers
469 views

Homotopy problem for infinite dimensional topological space II

This post here is a specification of this post. Let $(X_{n},d_{n})_{n \in \mathbb{N}}$ be a sequence of intrinsic metric spaces verifying : $X_{n}$ have topological dimension $n$. $X_{n+1}$ is ...
4
votes
3answers
525 views

Uniquely geodesic and CAT(0) spaces?

Improvement after J-M Schlenker's comment below : This post has been divided into two parts, the second part is here. Question : Is a finite dimensional metric space, uniquely geodesic if and only ...
4
votes
1answer
422 views

Is there a standard name for a 2-category which has an object z such that, for every object x, the category Hom(x,z) has a terminal object?

Motivation In Pursuing Stacks, Grothendieck defines what he calls a basic localizer, which is, to put it roughly, a class of functors between small categories with which one can make homotopy in ...
2
votes
0answers
203 views

A topos-theoretic thickening of the nerve functor

Let $\Delta$ be the standard cosimplicial space sending $[n]\mapsto \Delta^n\subset \mathbb R^{n+1}$. Then the correspondence $\delta\colon [n]\mapsto {\rm Sh}(\Delta^n)$ defines a cosimplicial ...
64
votes
6answers
3k views

What properties make $[0,1]$ a good candidate for defining fundamental groups?

The title essentially says it all. Consider the category $\mathfrak{Top}_2$ of triples $(J,e_0,e_1)$ where $J$ is a topological space, and $e_i \in J$. There is an obvious generalization of the ...
24
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the “intuition” behind “brave new algebra”?

Y.I. Manin mentions in a recent interview the need for a “codification of efficient new intuitive tools, such as … the “brave new algebra” of homotopy theorists”. This makes me puzzle, because I ...
32
votes
9answers
2k views

Homotopy as a general organizing principle

One of the realizations that led to the development of Homotopy Type Theory (HoTT) is that the ideas of homotopy theory have very broad applicability in mathematics. Indeed, Quillen model categories ...
20
votes
6answers
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 ...
30
votes
2answers
2k views

Are there pairs of highly connected finite CW-complexes with the same homotopy groups?

Fix an integer n. Can you find two finite CW-complexes X and Y which * are both n connected, * are not homotopy equivalent, yet * $\pi_q X \approx \pi_q Y$ for all $q$. In Are there two ...
24
votes
3answers
3k views

Spaces with same homotopy and homology groups that are not homotopy equivalent?

A common caution about Whitehead's theorem is that you need the map between the spaces; it's easy to give examples of spaces with isomorphic homotopy groups that are not homotopy equivalent. (See Are ...
20
votes
3answers
1k views

Modern Source for Spectra (including Ring Spectra)

I am looking for a modern introduction to Spectra that improves on the treatment by Adams in his "Stable Homotopy and Generalized Homology" notes (by improves I mean taking into account what has been ...
17
votes
5answers
2k views

Computing homotopies

Oftentimes, in the standard algebraic topology books (May, Switzer, Whithead, for instance), there are tricky little proofs that depend on proving that two maps are homotopic. This is comparable to ...
15
votes
5answers
2k views

A homotopy commutative diagram that cannot be strictified

By a "homotopy commutative diagram," I mean a functor $F: \mathcal{I} \to \mathrm{Ho}(\mathrm{Top})$ to the homotopy category of spaces. By a "strictification," I mean a lifting of such a functor to ...
15
votes
4answers
1k views

Classifying Space of a Group Extension

Consider a short exact sequence of Abelian groups -- I'm happy to assume they're finite as a toy example: $$ 0 \to H \to G \to G/H \to 0\ . $$ I want to understand the classifying space of $G$. Since ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

What determines a model structure?

It is easy to prove that a model structure is determined by the following classes of maps (determined = two model structures with the mentioned classes in common are equal). cofibrations and weak ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

Conjectures in Grothendieck's “Pursuing stacks”

I read on the nLab that in "Pursuing stacks" Grothendieck made several interesting conjectures, some of which have been proved since then. For example, as David Roberts wrote in answer to this ...
15
votes
3answers
2k views

Different way to view action of fundamental group on higher homotopy groups

There are a couple of ways to define an action of $\pi_1(X)$ on $\pi_n(X)$. When $n = 1$, there is the natural action via conjugation of loops. However, the picture seems to blur a bit when looking at ...
14
votes
8answers
2k views

References for homotopy colimit

(1) What are some good references for homotopy colimits? (2) Where can I find a reference for the following concrete construction of a homotopy colimit? Start with a partial ordering, which I will ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Why does homotopy behave well with respect to fibrations and homology with respect to cofibrations?

(I apologize that this is a vague question). I seems to me somehow that homotopy groups behave well with respect to (Serre)-fibrations. For example you get a long exact sequence of homotopy groups ...
20
votes
0answers
565 views

Is there a (discrete) monoid M injecting into its group completion G for which BM is not homotopy equivalent to BG?

For a (discrete) monoid $M$, the classifying space $BM$ is the geometric realization of the nerve of the one object category whose hom-set is $M$. (This definition gives the usual classfiying space ...
9
votes
2answers
415 views

What is a Homotopy between $L_\infty$-algebra morphisms

A $L_\infty$-algebra can be defined in many different ways. One common way, that gives the 'right' kind of morphisms, is that a $L_\infty$-algebra is a graded cocommutative and coassociative ...
18
votes
3answers
2k views

Homology theory constructed in a homotopy-invariant way

Singular homology sends homotopic morphisms on equal morphisms and weakly equivalent spaces on isomorphic objects. So singular homology is in fact defined on the homotopy category of topological ...
11
votes
2answers
914 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
503 views

Difficulties with the mod 2 Moore Spectrum

I have been informed that there is a reference out there which specifically details what goes wrong with the mod 2 Moore spectrum, i.e. why it is not $A_\infty$ or something? I do not know the ...
9
votes
3answers
729 views

What are the fibrant objects in the injective model structure?

If C is a small category, we can consider the category of simplicial presheaves on C. This is a model category in two natural ways which are compatible with the usual model structure on simplicial ...
8
votes
5answers
2k views

Are there two non-homotopy equivalent spaces with equal homotopy groups?

Could someone show an example of two spaces $X$ and $Y$ which are not of the same homotopy type, but nevertheless $\pi_q(X)=\pi_q(Y)$ for every $q$? Is there an example in the CW complex or smooth ...
17
votes
1answer
866 views

The cell structure of Thom spectra

I would like to understand the cell structure of integrally oriented Thom spectra. A Thom spectrum over a space $X$ is something you can build from a stable spherical bundle, which is classified by a ...
15
votes
1answer
408 views

Does the holonomy map define a homomorphism $\pi_k(X)\to\pi_{k-1}(Hol(\nabla))$?

Consider a vector bundle $V\to E\to X$ with fiber $V$, with structure group $G$, and $X$ path-connected. Consider a connection $\nabla$ on $E$. Then for any loop $L$ in $X$, based at $p$, we have a ...
11
votes
2answers
2k views

Group completion theorem

Let $M$ be a topological monoid. How does the homology-formulation of the group completion theorem, namely (see McDuff, Segal: Homology FIbrations and the "Group-Completion" Theorem) If $\pi_0$ is ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

Grothendieck spectral sequence and Mayer-Vietoris sequence

Suppose $U'\cup U''=X$ is an open cover $U$ of a topological space $X$ and $F$ is a sheaf on $X$ with values in abelian groups. There is a special instance of the Grothendieck spectral sequence ...
32
votes
0answers
786 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 ...
10
votes
1answer
507 views

Why does the internal singular simplicial space realize to the same thing as the discrete singular simplicial set?

There are two version of the singular simplicial space of a topological space $X$, one discrete and one internal. At least if X is nice, both of them have homotopy equivalent geometric realizations ...
8
votes
1answer
416 views

Three questions on $\operatorname{hocolim}$

I posted this on math.stack.exchange but didn't get a helpful response, so please let me try it here. Let $D$ be a small category and $F:D\to sSets$ a functor. There is a bisimplicial set indicated ...
5
votes
3answers
800 views

categorical homotopy colimits

let $hTop_*$ denote the homotopy category of pointed spaces. I believe that it has no pushouts, in general. the reason is that you can't expect the involved homotopies to be compatible. can anyone ...
13
votes
1answer
526 views

Geometric interpretation of families in the stable homotopy groups of spheres

There are infinite families in the stable homotopy groups of spheres; many of these can be seen by looking for "periodicity" phenomena in the Adams-Novikov spectral sequence. An example is the image ...
10
votes
1answer
374 views

BU with tensor product H-space structure

Hi, I came across the space $BU_\otimes$ when struggling with twisted K-theory. Segal proved that this is an H-space, right? I have read a dozen times by now that the group $[X, BU_\otimes]$ ...
4
votes
1answer
559 views

references for models of stable infinity categories

There's a fair amount of literature comparing different models for the homotopy theory of homotopy theories, or the homotopy theory of $(\infty,1)$-categories. Julie Bergner has a survey of this ...
20
votes
1answer
507 views

Is $\mathbb{H}P^\infty_{(p)}$ an H-space?

Put $X=\mathbb{H}P^\infty$ (so $X$ classifies quaternionic line bundles, and $\Omega X=S^3$). There is no obvious reason for $X$ to be an H-space, because the tensor product of quaternionic vector ...
11
votes
2answers
596 views

Vector bundles on vector bundles

Are all vector bundles on a given vector bundle the pull back of a vector bundle on the base? In more detail: let $X$ be a space and $p:E\rightarrow X$ a vector bundle over $X$. Let $\iota: X ...
11
votes
5answers
1k views

The definition of homotopy in algebraic topology

In this post, let $I=[0,1]$. Something about the definition of homotopy in algebraic topology (and in particular in the study of the fundamental group) always puzzled me. Most books on the ...
11
votes
2answers
443 views

Noncontractible connected topological rings ?

Are there any non-contractible connected topological rings? Of course, such a thing cannot be a (topological) algebra over the reals. (I have a vague memory of having a glance at an erticle by ...
9
votes
2answers
568 views

Configuration spaces and non homeomorphic vector bundles

Given two complex line bundles over the complex projective line ${\mathbb CP}^1$, prove or disprove that their total spaces are homeomorphic if and only if their Chern numbers are equal up to sign. ...