**190**

votes

**9**answers

16k views

### John Nash's Mathematical Legacy

It would seem that John Nash and his wife Alicia died tragically in a car accident on May 23, 2015 (reference). My condolences to his family and friends.
Maybe this is an appropriate time to ask a ...

**60**

votes

**4**answers

7k views

### When can a Connection Induce a Riemannian Metric for which it is the Levi-Civita Connection?

As we all know, for a Riemannian manifold $(M,g)$, there exists a unique torsion free connection $\nabla_g$, the Levi-Civita connection, that is compatible witht metric.
I was wondering if one can ...

**42**

votes

**7**answers

5k views

### Riemannian surfaces with an explicit distance function?

I'm looking for explicit examples of Riemannian surfaces (two-dimensional Riemannian manifolds $(M,g)$) for which the distance function d(x,y) can be given explicitly in terms of local coordinates of ...

**40**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### “Gross-Zagier” formulae outside of number theory

The Gross-Zagier formula and various variations of it form the starting point in most of the existing results towards the Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture. It relates the value at $1$ of the ...

**32**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### Is the Laplacian on a manifold the limit of graph Laplacians?

Here's the sort of thing I have in mind. Let $M$ be a Riemannian manifold, compact if it helps, and let $\Delta_M$ be the Laplace-Beltrami operator. Choose a sequence of triangulations of $M$ so ...

**31**

votes

**6**answers

3k views

### Synthetic vs. classical differential geometry

To provide context, I'm a differential geometry grad student from a physics background. I know some category theory (at the level of Simmons) and differential and Riemannian geometry (at the level of ...

**30**

votes

**1**answer

2k views

### Many flat totally geodesic surfaces ⇒ flat?

Let $M$ be a 4-dimensional Riemannian manifold.
Assume there is a huge number (say 100) of flat totally geodesic 2-dimensional surfaces
passing through a point $p\in M$ and assume that their tangent ...

**30**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### Intuition behind moduli space of curves

For a genus g compact smooth surface $M$, an algebraic structure is the same as a complex structure is the same as a conformal structure. So the moduli space of smooth curves should be the same as the ...

**30**

votes

**0**answers

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 ...

**29**

votes

**5**answers

3k views

### $G_2$ and Geometry

In a recent question Deane Yang mentioned the beautiful Riemannian geometry that comes up when looking at $G_2$. I am wondering if people could expand on the geometry related to the exceptional Lie ...

**27**

votes

**4**answers

3k views

### What are “good” examples of spin manifolds?

I'm trying to get a grasp on what it means for a manifold to be spin. My question is, roughly:
What are some "good" (in the sense of illustrating the concept) examples of manifolds which are spin ...

**25**

votes

**5**answers

3k views

### A geometric interpretation of the Levi-Civita connection?

Let $M$ be a Riemannian manifold. There exists a unique torsion-free connection in the (co)tangent bundle of $M$ such that the metric of $M$ is covariantly constant. This connection is called the ...

**24**

votes

**2**answers

3k views

### Does the curvature determine the metric?

Hello,
I ask myself, whether the curvature determines the metric.
Concretely: Given a compact Riemannian manifold $M$, are there two metrics $g_1$ and $g_2$, which are not everywhere flat, such that ...

**23**

votes

**10**answers

2k views

### Determining a surface in $\mathbb{R}^3$ by its Gaussian curvature

A curve in the plane is determined, up to orientation-preserving
Euclidean
motions, by its curvature function, $\kappa(s)$.
Here is one of my favorite examples, from
Alfred Gray's book,
Modern ...

**23**

votes

**2**answers

709 views

### Ellipses on spheres (and other surfaces)

Define an ellipse $E$ on a sphere as the locus of points whose sum of
shortest geodesic distances to two foci $p_1$ and $p_2$ is a constant $d$.
There are conditions on $\{ p_1, p_2, d \}$ for this ...

**22**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### The Origin of the Musical Isomorphisms

In Riemannian geometry, the "lowering indices" operator is denoted by $\flat:TM \to T^*M$ and the "raising indices" operator by $\sharp:T^*M \to TM$. These isomorphisms are sometimes referred to as ...

**21**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Is there a Chern-Gauss-Bonnet theorem for orbifolds?

There's a Gauss-Bonnet theorem for compact 2-orbifolds(due to Satake, I think), which gives a relation between the curvature of a Riemannian orbifold and the orbifold topology(i.e. taking into account ...

**20**

votes

**8**answers

4k views

### Some questions about scalar curvature

Recall that the scalar curvature of a Riemannian manifold is given by the trace of the Ricci curvature tensor. I will now summarize everything that I know about scalar curvature in three sentences:
...

**20**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### When is a closed differential form harmonic relative to some metric?

Let $\omega$ be a closed non-exact differential $k$-form ($k \geq 1$) on a closed orientable manifold $M$.
Question: Is there always a Riemannian metric $g$ on $M$ such that $\omega$ is ...

**20**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### Curves of constant curvature on S^2

Most probably this is a well known question.
Consider $S^2$ with a Riemannian metric. I would like to ask what is known about the structure of the set of simple (without self-intersections) closed ...

**20**

votes

**0**answers

1k views

**19**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Area of distance sphere in manifold with Ricci $\ge 0$.

Let $M$ be a open complete manifold with Ricci curvature $\ge 0$.
By a theorem of Calabi and Yau, the volume growth of $M$ is at least of linear.
I am wondering whether the following statement is ...

**18**

votes

**10**answers

7k views

### Riemannian Geometry Introductory Text

I have studied differential geometry, and am looking for basic introductory texts on Riemmanian geometry. My target is eventually Kähler geometry, but certain topics like geodesics, curvature, ...

**18**

votes

**2**answers

798 views

### Is every topological (resp. Lie-) group the isometrygroup of a metric space (resp. Riemannian manifold)?

The isometry group of a metric space is a topological group (with the compact open topology). The isometry group of a Riemann Manifold is a Liegroup. (Thm. of Steenrod-Myers)
So, is every topological ...

**18**

votes

**3**answers

933 views

### Algebraic (semi-) Riemannian geometry ?

I hope these are not to vague questions for MO.
Is there an analog of the concept of a Riemannian metric, in algebraic geometry?
Of course, transporting things literally from the differential ...

**18**

votes

**1**answer

627 views

### Is the following a sufficient condition for asphericity?

I recently came across the following question while working on some problems on manifolds with lower Ricci curvature bounds.
Given $n$ does there exist a large $R>0$ with the following property:
...

**17**

votes

**11**answers

5k views

### Open Questions in Riemannian Geometry

What are some major open problems in Riemannian Geometry? I tried googling it, but couldn't find any resources.

**17**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### Why is it important that partial derivatives commute?

I am asking this in the context of differential geometry (specifically Riemannian).
When the Levi-Civita Connection is defined, we require that the torsion tensor is 0, which in local coordinates ...

**17**

votes

**2**answers

623 views

### Manifold with all geodesics of Morse index zero but no negatively curved metric?

A closed oriented Riemannian manifold with negative sectional curvatures has the property that all its geodesics have Morse index zero.
Is there a known counterexample to the "converse": if (M,g) is ...

**17**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Complex manifolds in which the exponential map is holomorphic

Let $X$ be a complex manifold and $g$ a hermitian metric on $X$. Consider the Riemannian exponential $\exp_p: T_p X \to X$.
If $\exp_p$ is holomorphic for every $p \in X$, then $(\exp_p)^{-1}$, ...

**17**

votes

**0**answers

613 views

### Are the eigenvalues of the Laplacian of a generic Kähler metric simple?

It is a theorem of Uhlenbeck that for a generic Riemannian metric, the Laplacian acting on functions has simple eigenvalues, i.e., all the eigenspaces are 1-dimensional. (Here "generic" means the set ...

**16**

votes

**2**answers

876 views

### If there is a dense geodesic, are almost all geodesics equidistributed? Dense?

Let $M$ be a complete finite volume Riemannian manifold and $\gamma : \mathbb{R}^{\geq 0} \to M$ a geodesic. Suppose that $\mathrm{im}(\gamma)$ is dense. Is it equidistributed in the Riemannian ...

**16**

votes

**1**answer

339 views

### Avoiding integers in the spectrum of the Laplacian of a Riemann surface

Let $\Sigma^2$ be an orientable compact surface of genus $gen(\Sigma)\geq2$, and denote by $\mathcal M(\Sigma)$ the moduli space of hyperbolic metrics on $\Sigma$, i.e., Riemannian metrics of constant ...

**16**

votes

**1**answer

474 views

### Do free higher homotopy classes of compact Riemannian manifolds have preferred representatives?

A well known theorem of Cartan states that every free homotopy class of closed paths in a compact Riemannian manifold is represented by a closed geodesic (theorem 2.2 of Do Carmo, chapter 12, for ...

**16**

votes

**2**answers

2k views

### A question about the proof of Mostow rigidity

I have recently been studying a proof of Mostow rigidity (along the lines of Mostow's original argument), and I'm left a little confused about something. We start with an isomorphism $\alpha: \Gamma ...

**16**

votes

**0**answers

321 views

### Negative Einstein manifolds

In Besse's "EInstein manifolds", p. 354, the question is posed if the volume of Einstein metrics on a given compact manifold (normalized such that $Ric=\pm(n-1)g$) take only finitely many values.
For ...

**16**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Conjugate points in Lie groups with left-invariant metrics

For any Lie group $G$ there exist many left-invariant Riemannian metrics, namely, one just takes any inner product on the tangent space at the identity $T_eG$ and then left translate it to the other ...

**15**

votes

**4**answers

2k views

### Largest hyperbolic disk embeddable in Euclidean 3-space?

Hilbert proved that there's no complete regular (C^k for sufficiently large k) isometric embedding of the hyperbolic plane into R^3. On the other hand, the pseudosphere is locally isometric to the ...

**15**

votes

**4**answers

925 views

### Equations satisfied by the Riemann curvature tensor

It is well known that the Riemann curvature tensor of a metric satisfies
\begin{eqnarray}
R_{jikl}=-R_{ijkl}=R_{ijlk},(1)\\
R_{klij}=R_{ijkl},(2)\\
R_{i[jkl]}=0 \mbox{(1st Bianchi identity)}.(3)
...

**15**

votes

**1**answer

490 views

### Does a Riemannian manifold with bounded geometry admit an isometric proper embedding into Euclidean space with uniformly thick tubular neighborhood

Suppose $(M,g)$ is an open Riemannian manifold with bounded geometry, i.e., the injectivity radius is $\ge \epsilon>0$ and each iterated covariant derivative of curvature is bounded with respect to ...

**15**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### Curvature and Parallel Transport

Here is an updated formulation of the question, which is more precise and I think completely correct:
Suppose $M$ is a Riemannian manifold. Pick a point $p$ in $M$ and let $U$ be a neighborhood of ...

**15**

votes

**4**answers

949 views

### When is the time evolution of a Hamiltonian system described by the geodesic flow on a Riemannian manifold?

Here is my precise question. Let $M, \omega$ be a symplectic manifold and let $H: M \to \mathbb{R}$ be any smooth function. The symplectic form gives rise to an isomorphism between the tangent ...

**15**

votes

**5**answers

1k views

### Point singularity of a Riemannian manifold with bounded curvature

Suppose you have an incomplete Riemannian manifold with bounded sectional curvature such that its completion as a metric space is the manifold plus one additional point. Does the Riemannian manifold ...

**14**

votes

**4**answers

1k views

### What is the analog of the “Fundamental Theorem of Space Curves,” for surfaces, and beyond?

The "Fundamental Theorem of Space Curves"
(Wikipedia link; MathWorld link)
states that there is a unique (up to congruence)
curve in space that simultaneously realizes
given continuous curvature ...

**14**

votes

**3**answers

2k views

### Why are they called isothermal coordinates?

On a Riemannian manifold, a coordinate system is called "isothermal" if the Riemannian metric in those coordinates is conformal to the Euclidean metric:
$$g_{ij} = e^{f} \delta_{ij}$$
My question ...

**14**

votes

**1**answer

692 views

### Is there any progress on Problem 12 (from Schoen and Yau)?

I saw the following question from the "Problem Section" in Schoen and Yau, page 281, problem 12:
Let $M_1, M_2$ each have negative curvature. If $\pi_1 (M_1)=\pi_1 (M_2)$, prove that $M_1$ is ...

**14**

votes

**2**answers

797 views

### Exact Definition of Dirac Operator

Many definitions of the Dirac operator in the tradition of the Physics literature are hard to grasp for a mathematician. I would like to ask for a precise, general, definition of the Dirac operator ...

**14**

votes

**1**answer

886 views

### Nonnegative to Positive Curvature.

This questions asks for your intuition and insight as I'm surprised by how little is known about the difference between nonnegative and positive curvature. I don't want to be completely vague, so I ...

**13**

votes

**3**answers

529 views

### Effective contraction of a loop. Reference or a simple proof?

Let $M$ be a compact simply connected R. manifold. Let $x$ be a base point and let $\gamma$ be a smooth loop in $M$ starting and ending at $x$.
Is there a base point preserving retraction of ...

**13**

votes

**1**answer

359 views

### Algebraic characterization of the curvature operator of symmetric spaces

My question is the following :
Given an algebraic curvature operator $R\in S^2_B(\Lambda^2\mathbb{R}^n)$, is there an a simple criterion to know if this curvature operator can occur as the ...