A surface is a two-dimensional topological manifold. The term can also be used to describe a smooth surface, depending on the context.

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If $A$ is the ring of continuous functions on a genus $g$ surface, can the genus of $X$ be seen by simple algebra in $A$?

I was describing to a friend the result that a compact Hausdorff space is determined up to homeomorphism up to by its ring of continuous functions, and he asked how one could see the genus of a ...
21
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1answer
1k views

Homeomorphism historically: When did it reach its modern formulation?

Q. When did the notion of homeomorphism reach its modern formulation as a bicontinuous bijection, i.e., a continuous bijection between topological spaces whose inverse is also continuous? ...
18
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3answers
622 views

All compact surfaces $S\subseteq \mathbb{R}^3$ are rigid?

Recently I've come across a lecture in differential geometry by Fernando Codá (in portuguese!) in which he stated that the following problem is (at least, up to 2014) open: Given ...
17
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4answers
1k views

Morse theory in TOP and PL categories?

Apparently there are topological and piecewise linear versions of Morse theory. I would like to know of references that treat these topics. How is a Morse function defined for compact manifolds (with ...
16
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5answers
1k views

Is a rhombus rigid on a sphere or torus? And generalizations.

If a rectangle is formed from rigid bars for edges and joints at vertices, then it is flexible in the plane: it can flex to a parallelogram. On any smooth surface with a metric, one can define a ...
16
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2answers
348 views

$G$-action on the integral homology of a compact surface

Let $S$ be a compact connected orientable surface, and let $G$ be a nontrivial finite group acting freely on $S$ and preserving orientation (note the the action being free is a strong condition, since ...
15
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2answers
1k views

Simple curves on non-orientable surfaces.

Given an element in the (first) homology group of a surface, I would like to know if it can be represented as a simple closed curve. For orientable surfaces, this is well-known, but I wasn't able to ...
14
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1answer
2k views

Classification of surfaces and the TOP, DIFF and PL categories for manifolds

A surface is simply a 2-manifold. The classification theorem for compact connected surfaces (with boundary) is commonly regarded in the categories TOP, DIFF and PL. Well known proofs (e.g. via ...
13
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0answers
345 views

Approximating homeomorphisms of 2-disk by diffeomorphisms

Any homeomorphism of a compact surface can be approximated by diffeomorphisms. Is there a parametrized version of this result, where the parameter space is an $n$-disk? In other words, if $S$ is a ...
12
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1answer
1k views

Naive definition of surface area doesn't work?

A first stab at a definition of surface area might go like this: Let S be a surface. Select finitely many points from S and make a bunch of triangles having these points as vertexes. Add up the ...
12
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3answers
631 views

Space of embeddings of circle in a surface

Let $S$ be a compact oriented surface of genus at least $2$ (possibly with boundary). Let $X$ be a connected component of the space of embeddings of $S^1$ into $S$. Question : what is the ...
11
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1answer
831 views

Geodesics on the twisted pseudosphere (Dini's surface)

I wonder how difficult it is to compute geodesics on Dini's Surface, a twisted pseudosphere? Here is one parametrization, from Alfred Gray's Modern Differential Geometry of Curves and Surfaces, ...
9
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1answer
647 views

Do all combinatorially distinct fundamental polygons correspond to surfaces?

The topology of a closed surface can be constructed by identifying edges of a fundamental polygon of an even number $2n$ of edges. Labeling the edges and using $\pm 1$ exponents to indicate direction, ...
9
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2answers
1k views

Connected sum of surfaces

I'm looking for a detailed reference about connected sums. I'd like it to contain a proof that a connected sum of connected surfaces is independent - up to homeomorphism - of the various choices ...
8
votes
2answers
139 views

Tangent fields spanning the distribution of principal directions on a surface

Suppose $S$ is an orientable regular surface in $\mathbb R^3$ without umbilical points (not necessarily compact, and with no boundary). There are two well-defined smooth $1$-dimensional tangent ...
8
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1answer
203 views

Foliation with leaves which are and are not dense

Do there exist a foliation on a closed surface (i.e. real dimension 2) which has a dense leaf and also a leaf which is not dense?
8
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1answer
138 views

Characterizing surface area

(This question is a variant of an unanswered question at math.stackexchange.) The Definition section of Wikipedia's article on surface area currently starts as follows: While the areas of many ...
8
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0answers
235 views

Surfaces with many (but not solely) closed geodesics?

Let $S$ be a closed surface embedded in $\mathbb{R}^3$, let's say of genus zero. I seek examples of $S$ with the following property: If one selects a random any point $p$ on $S$, and a random ...
7
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2answers
536 views

Besides the tracioid are there other surfaces of revolution that have a constant negative curvature?

There is no surface in $ R^3 $ that can represent the complete hyperbolic plane (Hilberts theorem) so we always have to do with a surface that is not completely equivalent, has a cusp somewhere, but ...
6
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2answers
439 views

Do the following set of Dehn twists generate the mapping class group?

If $S$ is the surface illustrated below, do the Dehn twists about the red curves generate the mapping class group $\operatorname{MCG}(S,\partial S)$?
6
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2answers
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What is parameterization of the trefoil knot surface in R³?

What is a parameterization, say (x(u,v),y(u,v),z(u,v)), of the trefoil knot surface in R³ whose cross-section can be circular or, in general, elliptic? Thanks!
6
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1answer
345 views

Which surfaces have only a finite number of connecting geodesics?

Q1. For a smooth, closed (compact) surface $S$ embedded in $\mathbb{R}^3$, under which conditions is it true that, for every pair of points $a,b \in S$, there are an infinite number of ...
6
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2answers
240 views

Geodesic flow on infinite surfaces

The geodesic flow on a compact hyperbolic surface (i.e. a surface with a riemannian metric of constant curvature $-1$) has been well-studied, in particular it has been known for a long time that it is ...
6
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2answers
398 views

How to compute the normals to Costa's minimal surface?

I am trying to draw Costa's minimal surface in high resolution using the PovRay raytracer. For this I need to compute points on the surface as well as the normals. It is relatively easy to compute the ...
6
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1answer
327 views

Costa's minimal surface and the structure of lungs

Seeing this image of Costa's minimal surface        (MathWorld image) made me wonder if the fine-grained structure of the human lung is somehow composed of pieces of ...
6
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1answer
126 views

Can a surface group act on a finite-valence simplicial tree?

Question. Let $S$ be a closed surface of genus $> 1$. Can $\pi_1(S)$ act faithfully and minimally on a simplicial tree of finite valence? Here "minimal" means that there is no invariant sub-tree. ...
6
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0answers
133 views

Harmonic map heat flow in positive curvature

Suppose I wish to relax/smooth a map $\phi:M\rightarrow N$ between two surfaces $M,N$ embedded in $\mathbb{R}^3$. I could try flowing the map using harmonic heat flow, which (as I understand it) is ...
5
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2answers
337 views

Action of $\pi_1(S)$ on its commutator subgroup

Let $G$ be a group. It acts canonically on its derived subgroup by conjugation. Can on describe the orbits of this action when $G$ is the fundamental group of a compact orientable surface of genus $g ...
5
votes
1answer
508 views

Triple bubble conjecture: Natural candidate?

Is there a standard natural candidate surface for the shape that encloses three given volumes in $\mathbb{R}^3$ and has minimal surface area? I know the planar triple bubble conjecture was ...
5
votes
2answers
592 views

Pursuit-Evasion on a Manifold

I know pursuit-evasion has been studied in many contexts, including on a manifold (e.g., Melikyan, "Geometry of Pursuit-Evasion Games on Two-Dimensional Manifolds"), but I have not seen this version: ...
5
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1answer
156 views

Translation surfaces & integer multiples of $\pi$

Richard Schwartz, in Mostly Surfaces (Vol. 60. American Mathematical Soc., 2011), defines (on p.14) a translation surface as "a Euclidean cone surface, all of whose 'angle errors' are integer ...
5
votes
2answers
427 views

What is the homotopy type of the space of simple closed curves isotopic to a given one?

For surfaces there are many statements along the lines of: if two simple closed curves are homotopic, they are isotopic. I'm interested in such questions for families of curves. More precisely, let ...
5
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4answers
420 views

Lagrangian Kleinian bottles

I remember some talks some time ago about proofs of nonexistence of Lagrangian Kleinian bottles in C^2 for the standard symplectic structure, mentioning that this were the only compact surface for ...
5
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1answer
229 views

Fixing a proof of the systolic inequality for higher genus surfaces

I'm currently learning some stuffs about systolic inequalities. While reading the relevant sections (p329 to 340) in Berger's Panoramic View of Riemannian Geometry, I noticed a gap in one of the ...
5
votes
1answer
328 views

Avoiding mean-curvature flow dumbbell neck-pinch by inflating a surface

It is well known that Grayson's dumbbell neck-pinch1,2 separates into disconnected pieces under mean curvature flow:                     Image ...
4
votes
2answers
253 views

Some facts about cut-locus

Let $M$ be a 2-dimensional closed Riemmanian manifold diffeomorphic to $S^2$. S.B.Myers says "the cut-locus of every point $x\in M$ is a finite tree." How the set of point can be a tree? ...
4
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2answers
461 views

Surface Laplace-Beltrami without coordinates, exterior calculus?

Let $f: M \rightarrow \mathbb{R}^3$ be an immersion of a surface $M$. For pedagogical purposes (i.e., I'm teaching a class!) I am looking for an expression for the scalar Laplace-Beltrami operator ...
4
votes
1answer
258 views

Representing groups with two generators as graph automorphisms

Suppose we have a group $G$ which can be generated by two elements $x$, $y$. Call $H$, $K$, $L$ the subgroups of $G$ generated by $x$, $y$ and $y^{-1}x^{-1}$, respectively. With these data, we can ...
4
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1answer
728 views

intersection number

I vaguely recall the following fact that I'd like to use in my research. It should be easy to see that this holds (if it does) but I can't seem to prove it. Let $p:X\longrightarrow S$ be a (regular) ...
4
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1answer
186 views

Fair surfaces - general mathematical theory

Fairness measures for surfaces are, in general, functionals containing more complicated terms thatn the usual bending energy, and may depend not only on the mean curvature but also on principal ...
3
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3answers
2k views

Covering spaces of surfaces

Let $\Sigma_g$ be a surface of genus $g\ge 2$, and let $\Sigma_k$ be an $m$-sheeted covering space of $\Sigma_g$. It is known that $k=m(g-1)+1$. An example of such a covering space is a regular ...
3
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2answers
173 views

Random metrics on compact orientable surfaces

Hello everyone, Let $S_g$ be a compact orientable surface of genus $g \geq 2$, and let $\mathcal{A}$ be the set of $\mathcal{C}^{\infty}$ Riemanniann metric on $S_g$ endowed with the topology of ...
3
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2answers
239 views

Dimension of the homology group with coefficients in $\mathbb{Z}/2\mathbb{Z}$

I asked this on math.stackexchange.com, but didn't get a single answer. Charles Weibel writes in his survey of homological algebra Riemann defined a surface $S$ to be $(n + 1)$-fold connected ...
3
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2answers
336 views

Moving a canonical divisor on a normal surface away from the singular locus

In a previous question Moving a Weil divisor on a normal surface away from a finite set of closed points I probably asked for too much. As J.C. Ottem pointed out, it is not always possible to move a ...
3
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1answer
80 views

Homotopy classes of homeomorphisms of a multiple pointed space

Let $M$ be a multiple pointed space, i.e. $M$ is a topological space and there is a finite point set $M\supset P=\{p_1,...,p_k\}, k<\infty$. Such a $p_i$ is called a marked point. A map ...
3
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1answer
99 views

How to approximate volumes of m-dimensional manifolds with m-dimensional polyhedra

The areas of a sequence of polyhedra approaching a surface need not approach the area of the surface, but there are theorems guaranteeing that this be so. (T. Rado, On the Problem of Plateau, Chapter ...
3
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1answer
266 views

Reference for Arakelov's theorem: $K^2_f=0$ iff $f$ is locally trivial

Let $f:X\longrightarrow B$ be a family of curves, with $f$ relatively minimal, over a fixed curve $B$ ($B$ is projective, irreducible and smooth). The fibration $f$ is said locally trivial if all ...
3
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1answer
252 views

Removing intersections of curves in surfaces

Let $C_1, \dots, C_n$ be a family of disjoint simple curves in a surface $\Sigma$. If $C$ is any simple curve in $\Sigma$, it turns out that we can map $C$ to a curve $C'$ (via a homeomorphism of ...
3
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2answers
383 views

Realizing homology classes on surfaces with boundary by simple closed curves

Let $\Sigma$ be a compact oriented surface with boundary. Assume that the genus of $\Sigma$ is positive. We say that an element $h \in H_1(\Sigma)$ can be realized by a simple closed curve if there ...
3
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2answers
481 views

Surface fitting with convexity requirement

Hi all, Consider a cloud of points in 3D space (x,y,z). The data is well-behaved, once plotted the surface looks like some sort of spheroid. I assumed a form for the fitting function f(x,y,z) = c1 ...