**81**

votes

**17**answers

11k views

### Are there examples of non-orientable manifolds in nature?

Whilst browsing through Marcel Berger's book "A Panoramic View of Riemannian Geometry" and thinking about the Klein bottle, I came across the sentence:
"The unorientable surfaces are never discussed ...

**77**

votes

**8**answers

9k views

### What do heat kernels have to do with the Riemann-Roch theorem and the Gauss-Bonnet theorem?

I know the following facts. (Don't assume I know much more than the following facts.)
The Atiyah-Singer index theorem generalizes both the Riemann-Roch theorem and the Gauss-Bonnet theorem.
The ...

**71**

votes

**4**answers

6k views

### Which manifolds are homeomorphic to simplicial complexes?

This question is only motivated by curiousity; I don't know a lot about manifold topology.
Suppose $M$ is a compact topological manifold of dimension $n$. I'll assume $n$ is large, say $n\geq 4$. ...

**35**

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. ...

**33**

votes

**3**answers

3k views

### Connected sum of topological manifolds

A definition of the connected sum of two $n$-manifolds $M$ and $M'$ begins by considering two $n$-balls $B$ in $M$, $B'$ in $M'$, and glueing the varieties $M\setminus \mathring B$ and $M'\setminus ...

**32**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Are there only countably many compact topological manifolds?

Up to homeomorphism, there are 2 one-dimensional topological manifolds and countably many 2- and 3-dimensional compact manifolds, respectively, since each manifold in these dimensions can be ...

**32**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### When is a submanifold of $\mathbf R^n$ given by global equations?

Let $M \subset \mathbf R^n$ be a (smooth) submanifold of dimension $d$. Under which conditions does there exist global equations defining $M$? By global equations I mean : does there exist a smooth ...

**30**

votes

**3**answers

5k views

### What is the difference between holonomy and monodromy?

What is the difference between holonomy and monodromy?
And what is the simplest example in which one is trivial and the other is not?

**29**

votes

**1**answer

797 views

### “Affine communication” for topological manifolds

There is a situation that comes up regularly in algebraic topology when giving proofs of facts about manifolds, like Poincare duality and the like. The typical sequence goes like this:
Prove ...

**28**

votes

**2**answers

864 views

### good covers of manifolds

It is well-known and easy to prove (see for instance this post) that every smooth manifold admits a "good cover", i.e. a locally finite cover by open balls such that all nonempty intersections of the ...

**27**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### What manifolds are bounded by RP^odd?

Real projective spaces $\mathbb{R}P^n$ have $\mathbb{Z}/2$ cohomology rings $\mathbb{Z}/2[x]/(x^{n+1})$ and total Stiefel-Whitney class $(1+x)^{n+1}$ which is $1$ when $n$ is odd, so it follows that ...

**26**

votes

**7**answers

3k views

### Is there a Whitney Embedding Theorem for non-smooth manifolds?

For smooth $n$-manifolds, we know that they can always be embedded in $\mathbb R^{2n}$ via a differentiable map. However, is there any corresponding theorem for the topological category? (i.e. Can ...

**26**

votes

**4**answers

733 views

### Ring of closed manifolds modulo fiber bundles

Let $R$ be the ring which is generated by homeomorphism classes $[M]$ of compact closed manifolds (of arbitrary dimension) subject to the relations that
$$[F]\cdot [B] = [E]$$
if there exists a fibre ...

**24**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### A “meta-mathematical principle” of MacPherson

In an appendix to his notes on intersection homology and perverse sheaves, MacPherson writes
Why do we want to consider only spaces $V$ that admit a decomposition into manifolds? The intuitive ...

**24**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### A Pachner complex for triangulated manifolds

A theorem of Pachner's states that if two triangulated PL-manifolds are PL-homeomorphic, the two triangulations are related via a finite sequence of moves, nowadays called "Pachner moves".
A ...

**23**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### Euler Characteristic of a manifold with non-vanishing vector field,

A friend of mine recently asked me if I knew any simple, conceptual argument (even one that is perhaps only heuristic) to show that if a triangulated manifold has a non-vanishing vector field, then ...

**22**

votes

**15**answers

3k views

### Important results that use infinite-dimensional manifolds?

Are Banach manifolds (or other types of infinite-dimensional manifolds) just curiosities, or have they been utilized to prove some interesting/important results? Where do they turn up? Important ...

**22**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### Are topological manifolds homotopy equivalent to smooth manifolds?

There exist topological manifolds which don't admit a smooth structure in dimensions > 3, but I haven't seen much discussion on homotopy type. It seems much more reasonable that we can find a smooth ...

**22**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Non-regular Connected Hausdorff Banach Manifold

After reading this MO post, I am wondering:
Is every (connected) Hausdorff Banach manifold a regular space?
Though unjustified, page 53 of this paper nonchalantly states: "Note that a Hausdorff ...

**22**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### The third axiom in the definition of (infinite-dimensional) vector bundles: why?

Serge Lang's Differential and Riemannian Manifolds is a no doubt the best available reference for the theory of not-necessarily-finite-dimensional differential manifolds, but unfortunately it suffers ...

**21**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### A book on locally ringed spaces?

Are there enough interesting results that hold for general locally ringed spaces for a book to have been written? If there are, do you know of a book? If you do, pelase post it, one per answer and a ...

**21**

votes

**1**answer

2k views

### Classification of 1-dimensional manifolds (not second-countable)

It is easy to see that every connected $1$-dimensional second-countable manifold (that is, what is often called just a manifold) is either homeomorphic to $\mathbb{R}$ or to $S^1$. Now let's drop the ...

**18**

votes

**2**answers

970 views

### Are homeomorphic open subsets of $\mathbb{R}^n$ also diffeomorphic?

Let $U_1, U_2$ be open subsets of $\mathbb{R}^n$. Both are naturally differentiable submanifold, getting the differentiable structure from $\mathbb{R}^n$. Further, both are natural topological ...

**18**

votes

**1**answer

816 views

### isotopy inverse embeddings vs. diffeomorphisms

I would like to find an example, if one exists, of manifolds $M$ and $N$ with embeddings $f:M\to N$ and $g:N\to M$ such that $f\circ g$ and $g\circ f$ are both isotopic (i.e. homotopic through ...

**18**

votes

**1**answer

812 views

### Is there a manifold with fundamental group $\mathbb{Q}$?

It is known that the fundamental group of a locally path connected, path connected compact metric space is finitely presented or uncountable. Furthermore the fundamental group of every manifold is ...

**18**

votes

**2**answers

676 views

### Distinct manifolds with the same configuration spaces?

For a space $X$, let $C_k X$ denote the space of configurations of $k$ distinct unordered points in $X$.
What is an example of a pair of smooth manifolds $M$ and $N$ that are not homeomorphic but ...

**17**

votes

**5**answers

3k views

### geometric interpretation of Lie bracket

On page 159 of "A Comprehensive Introduction To Differential Geometry Vol.1" by Spivak has written:
We thus see that the bracket $[X,Y]$ measures, in some sense, the extent to
which the integral ...

**16**

votes

**2**answers

785 views

### What is an example of an orbifold which is not a topological manifold?

In Thurston's book The Geometry and Topology of Three-Manifolds it is proven that the underlying space of a two-dimensional orbifold is always a topological surface.
Are there any easy examples of ...

**15**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### Is every real n-manifold isomorphic to a quotient of $\mathbb{R}^n$?

I'm curious about the following:
Is every real $n$-manifold isomorphic to a quotient of $\mathbb{R}^n$?
Thanks.
EDIT: As Tilman points out, the manifold should be connected. Also, yes, I'm thinking ...

**15**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### Algebraic varieties which are topological manifolds

Inspired by this thread, which concludes that a non-singular variety over the complex numbers is naturally a smooth manifold, does anyone know conditions that imply that the topological space ...

**15**

votes

**2**answers

686 views

### If $X$ is a simplicial complex, is their a characterization of the links of the vertices of $X$ that is equivalent to the statement "$|X|$ is a manifold

We have a characterization when we want $|X|$ to be a PL-manifold, in particular that the links of all the vertices are themselves (PL) spheres. If we are in the category of PL- spaces then this is a ...

**15**

votes

**1**answer

196 views

### Smooth manifolds as idempotent splitting completion

The nlab has a particularly interesting thing to say about the category of smooth manifolds: it is the idempotent-splitting completion of the category of open sets of Euclidean spaces and smooth maps.
...

**15**

votes

**1**answer

659 views

### Are there geometrically formal manifolds, which are not rationally elliptic?

Formality of a space is meant in the sense of Sullivan, i.e. a space $X$ is called formal, if it's commutative differential graded algebra of piecewise linear differential forms $(A_{PL}(X),d)$ is ...

**14**

votes

**3**answers

1k views

### Can we decompose Diff(MxN)?

If you have two manifolds $M^m$ and $N^n$, how does one / can one decompose the diffeomorphisms $\text{Diff}(M\times N)$ in terms of $\text{Diff}(M)$ and $\text{Diff}(N)$? Is there anything we can say ...

**14**

votes

**6**answers

1k views

### Does every vector bundle allow a finite trivialization cover?

Suppose there is a vector bundle (smooth, with constant rank finite-dimensional fibres) over a (smooth, second-countable, Hausdorff, not necessarily connected) manifold $B$ of dimension $n$.
(a) Is ...

**14**

votes

**3**answers

916 views

### Does a *topological* manifold have an exhaustion by compact submanifolds with boundary?

If $M$ is a connected smooth manifold, then it is easy to show that there is a sequence of connected compact smooth submanifolds with boundary $M_1\subseteq M_2\subseteq\cdots$ such that ...

**14**

votes

**2**answers

500 views

### Are there results from gauge theory known or conjectured to distinguish smooth from PL manifolds?

My question begins with a caveat: I sometimes spend time with topologists, but do not consider myself to be one. In particular, my apologies for any errors in what I say below — corrections are ...

**13**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### (Very) High dimensional manifolds

Usually one regards manifolds up to dimension 4 as a part of low dimensional topology. There are plenty of various results which work only in low dimensional topology; especially in dimension 4. ...

**13**

votes

**1**answer

775 views

### How can gauge theory techniques be useful to study when topological manifolds can be triangulated?

I was reading a review article arXiv:1310.7644 and it was explained there that in the last few years it was proven that there are topological manifolds of dimension greater than four that cannot be ...

**13**

votes

**2**answers

735 views

### Uniqueness of compactification of an end of a manifold

Let $M$ be an $n$-dimensional manifold (smooth or topological). I call $\bar{M}$ a compactification of $M$ if it is an $n$-dimensional compact manifold with boundary $\partial \bar{M}$, an ...

**13**

votes

**1**answer

742 views

### Manifolds with prescribed fundamental group and finitely many trivial homotopy groups

Fix $G$, a finitely generated presented group.
It is known that for every $k > 3$ there is a closed $k$-manifold whose fundamental group is $G$. Similarly, there is a topological space with ...

**13**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### Proofs of Rohlin's theorem (an oriented 4-manifold with zero signature bounds a 5-manifold)

A celebrated theorem of Rohlin states the following
An oriented closed 4-manifold $M^4$ bounds an oriented 5-manifold if and only if the signature of $M^4$ is zero.
Simple homological arguments ...

**13**

votes

**1**answer

511 views

### Essential uniqueness of the real-analytic structure on $\mathbb R$

It is well-known that any $C^k$-smooth $1$-manifold homeomorphic to $\mathbb R$ is $C^k$-diffeomorphic to $\mathbb R$. The cases of $k\in{\mathbb N}\cup$ {$\infty$} may all be handled similarly by ...

**13**

votes

**1**answer

347 views

### If all balls around two points are isometric… — manifold version

This question is a natural follow-up of this other question, asked earlier today by wspin.
Let's say that a metric space $(X,d)$ has two poles if:
there are two distinct points $x$, $y$ such that ...

**13**

votes

**0**answers

513 views

### Codimension Two Embeddings in Goodwillie-Weiss Manifold Calculus, and the Difficulty of Fundamental Groups

In manifold calculus, there are various analyticity estimates which run into trouble for codimension two embeddings. For instance, the functor $\operatorname{Emb}(M,N)$ is analytic in $M$ if $\dim M ...

**12**

votes

**2**answers

1k 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 ...

**12**

votes

**3**answers

918 views

### Characterizing Hessians among symmetric bilinear tensors

I apologize in advance if this is somewhat elementary, but:
Let $(M,g)$ be a compact Riemannian manifold. Is there a "characterization" of which symmetric bilinear tensors $B\in Sym^2(M)$ are ...

**12**

votes

**2**answers

637 views

### When do blowups ''commute''?

Let $M$ be a manifold (variety, scheme, your favorite object) and let $N_1,N_2$ be two submanifolds (subvarieties, closed subschemes, ideal sheafes, etc.) such that $N_1 \cap N_2 \neq \emptyset$. ...

**12**

votes

**2**answers

451 views

### Self homeomorphisms of $S^2\times S^2$

Every matrix $A\in SL_2(\mathbb{Z})$ induces a self homeomorphism of $S^1\times S^1=\mathbb{R}^2/\mathbb{Z}^2$. For different matrices these homeomorphisms are not homotopic, as the induced map on ...

**12**

votes

**1**answer

606 views

### The geometry of crinkled aluminum foil

I wonder if the geometry of crinkled aluminum foil has been studied?
The above is a photo of foil I flattened to reuse.
It might be ...