**51**

votes

**6**answers

5k views

### third stable homotopy group of spheres via geometry?

It is ''well-known'' that the third stable homotopy group of spheres is cyclic of order $24$. It is also ''well-known'' that the quaternionic Hopf map $\nu:S^7 \to S^4$, an $S^3$-bundle, suspends to a ...

**16**

votes

**7**answers

2k 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 $f: X \to Y$ and $g: X \to Y$ be two maps between finite CW complexes. If f and g induce the same ...

**52**

votes

**9**answers

5k 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 ...

**19**

votes

**5**answers

3k 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 ...

**111**

votes

**10**answers

8k views

### What non-categorical applications are there of homotopical algebra?

(To be honest, I actually mean something more general than 'homotopical algebra' - topos theory, $\infty$-categories, operads, anything that sounds like its natural home would be on the nLab.)
More ...

**76**

votes

**6**answers

4k 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 ...

**37**

votes

**6**answers

4k views

### Non-examples of model structures, that fail for subtle/surprising reasons?

An often-cited principle of good mathematical exposition is that a definition should always come with a few examples and a few non-examples to help the learner get an intuition for where the concept's ...

**36**

votes

**3**answers

5k 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 ...

**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 ...

**34**

votes

**1**answer

2k views

### Are there any “homotopical spaces”?

This is a somewhat vague question; I don't know how "soft" it is, and even if it makes sense.
[Edit: in the light of the comments, we can state my question in a formally precise way, that is: "Is ...

**29**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### Why the Dold-Thom theorem?

Dold-Thom Theorem: $$\pi_i(SP(X))\cong\tilde{H}_i(X)$$
It's pretty miraculous, no? I've seen its proof, where you show that the composition of the functors on the left-side satisfies the axioms of a ...

**25**

votes

**1**answer

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 ...

**36**

votes

**6**answers

2k views

### Why the “W” in CGWH (compactly generated weakly Hausdorff spaces)?

In his 1967 paper A convenient category of topological spaces,
Norman Steenrod introduced the category CGH of compactly generated Hausdorff spaces
as a good replacement of the category Top topological ...

**19**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### “Dirty” proof that Eilenberg-MacLane spaces represent cohomology?

The standard approach to proving that $H^n(X; G)$ is represented by $K(G, n)$ seems to be to prove that $\text{Hom}(X, K(G, n))$ defines a cohomology theory and then use Eilenberg-Steenrod uniqueness. ...

**29**

votes

**1**answer

597 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 ...

**6**

votes

**1**answer

1k 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 ...

**11**

votes

**5**answers

2k 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 ...

**8**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### Generalized Categories for “Higher Homotopy Groupoids”

I was thinking about the definition of higher homotopy groups $\pi_n$ of a topological space in comparison to the common extremely formal fundamental groupoid construction of $\pi_1$. I'd like to be ...

**10**

votes

**2**answers

557 views

### Is the geometric realization of a level-wise weak equivalence a weak equivalence?

For the purposes of this question a topological space will mean a compactly generated weak Hausdorff space, though I am actually somewhat flexible on what category of topological spaces we use. I ...

**16**

votes

**2**answers

883 views

### Is homology finitely generated as an algebra?

If a differential graded algebra is finitely generated as an algebra, is its homology finitely generated as an algebra?
Is it easier if we impose any of the three conditions: characteristic zero; ...

**7**

votes

**3**answers

586 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 ...

**11**

votes

**2**answers

784 views

### Reference Request: Compact manifolds with boundary have the homotopy type of a CW-complex

Let $M$ be a compact manifold (possibly non-smooth) manifold with boundary $\partial M$.
Is the inclusion $\partial M\hookrightarrow M$ homotopy equivalent to the inclusion of a subcomplex into a CW-...

**5**

votes

**2**answers

447 views

### A general theory of quasi-functors, generalizing from dg-categories to $\mathcal V$-categories, with $\mathcal V$ monoidal model category

I employ the vast majority of the post to develop the notion of quasi-functor between dg-categories: I think it is important to get the idea.
Let $k$ be a field, and let $\mathcal V =\mathbf C(k)$ ...

**5**

votes

**1**answer

376 views

### Do homotopy pullbacks commute with homotopy orbits (in spaces)?

Suppose we are given a diagram $X \to Z \gets Y$ of $G$-spaces ($G$ a discrete group). Let $(- \times^h -)$ denote homotopy pullback. Is $(X \times^h_Z Y)_{hG}$ weakly equivalent to $X_{hG} \times^h_{...

**4**

votes

**1**answer

438 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

**0**answers

223 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 ...

**121**

votes

**7**answers

10k views

### Proofs of Bott periodicity

K-theory sits in an intersection of a whole bunch of different fields, which has resulted in a huge variety of proof techniques for its basic results. For instance, here's a scattering of proofs of ...

**85**

votes

**4**answers

4k views

### What do the stable homotopy groups of spheres say about the combinatorics of finite sets?

The Barratt-Priddy-Quillen(-Segal) theorem says that the following spaces are homotopy equivalent in an (essentially) canonical way:
$\Omega^\infty S^\infty:=\varinjlim~ \Omega^nS^n$
$\mathbb{Z}\...

**43**

votes

**4**answers

7k views

### Do we still need model categories?

One modern POV on model categories is that they are presentations of $(\infty, 1)$-categories (namely, given a model category, you obtain an $\infty$-category by localizing at the category of weak ...

**33**

votes

**2**answers

3k views

### Why should I care about topological modular forms?

There seems to be a lot of recent activity concerning topological modular forms (TMF), which I gather is an extraordinary cohomology theory constructed from the classical theory of modular forms on ...

**32**

votes

**3**answers

5k 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 ...

**37**

votes

**9**answers

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 ...

**22**

votes

**8**answers

3k views

### triangulated vs. dg/A-infinity

Someone recently said "derived/triangulated categories are an abomination that should struck from the earth and replaced with dg/A-infinity versions".
I have a rough idea why this is true ("don't ...

**31**

votes

**4**answers

4k views

### Definition of an E-infinity algebra

Can anyone give me a plain-and-simple
definition of an E-infinity algebra without using
the words "operad," "ring spectrum," or
"stable homotopy"?
Sorry, but I honestly couldn't find it using
all on-...

**23**

votes

**3**answers

2k 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 ...

**41**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### What are the higher homotopy groups of Spec Z ?

The homotopy groups of the étale topos of a scheme were defined by Artin and Mazur. Are these known for Spec Z? Certainly π1 is trivial because Spec Z has no unramified étale covers,...

**31**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### `Naturally occuring' $K(\pi, n)$ spaces, for $n \geq 2$.

[edited!] Given a group $\pi$ and an integer $n>1$, what are examples of Eilenberg-Maclane spaces $K(\pi, n)$ that can be constructed as "known" manifolds? (or if not a manifold, say some space ...

**21**

votes

**4**answers

2k 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 ...

**39**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Is $\mathbb{R}^3 \setminus \mathbb{Q}^3$ simply connected?

Similarly is the complement of any countable set in $\mathbb R^3$ simply connected?
Reading around I found plenty of articles discussing the path connectedness $\mathbb R^2 \setminus \mathbb Q^2$ and ...

**32**

votes

**0**answers

933 views

### Functor that maps to both $KO^n$ and $KO^{-n}$

(my question is also meaningful for complex K-theory, but since Kn(X) is always isomorphic to K-n(X), it's less interesting)
I start by recalling the analytic definition of KO-theory:
The following ...

**32**

votes

**3**answers

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 non-...

**18**

votes

**3**answers

3k 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 ...

**14**

votes

**3**answers

2k 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 ...

**17**

votes

**5**answers

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 ...

**31**

votes

**4**answers

2k 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 ...

**17**

votes

**7**answers

3k 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 ...

**13**

votes

**2**answers

2k 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 ...

**17**

votes

**3**answers

3k 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 ...

**22**

votes

**0**answers

847 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
...

**14**

votes

**9**answers

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 ...