# Questions tagged [at.algebraic-topology]

Homotopy, stable homotopy, homology and cohomology, homotopical algebra.

**63**

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### Compelling evidence that two basepoints are better than one

This question is inspired by an answer of Tim Porter.
Ronnie Brown pioneered a framework for homotopy theory in which one may consider multiple basepoints. These ideas are accessibly presented in his ...

**20**

votes

**2**answers

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### 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 $(n-1)$-...

**10**

votes

**2**answers

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### Necessary conditions for cofibrancy in global projective model structure on simplicial presheaves

Consider the global projective model category
of simplicial presheaves on some category
(the category of smooth manifolds is particularly interesting to me).
In Section 9.1 of Dugger's paper “...

**31**

votes

**2**answers

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### The error in Petrovski and Landis' proof of the 16th Hilbert problem

What was the main error in the proof of the second part of the 16th Hilbert problem by Petrovski and Landis?
Please see this related post and also the following post.. For Mathematical ...

**105**

votes

**7**answers

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### Homotopy groups of Lie groups

Several times I've heard the claim that any Lie group $G$ has trivial second fundamental group $\pi_2(G)$, but I have never actually come across a proof of this fact. Is there a nice argument, ...

**61**

votes

**6**answers

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### 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 ...

**17**

votes

**2**answers

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### Euler characteristic of a manifold and self-intersection

This is probably quite easy, but how do you show that the Euler characteristic of a manifold M (defined for example as the alternating sum of the dimensions of integral cohomology groups) is equal to ...

**20**

votes

**5**answers

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### Fundamental groups of topological groups.

Let $G$ be a topological group, and $\pi_1(G,e)$ its fundamental group at the identity. If $G$ is the trivial group then $G \cong \pi_1(G,e)$ as abstract groups. My question is:
If $G$ is a non-...

**97**

votes

**6**answers

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### Counterexamples in algebraic topology?

In this thread
Books you would like to read (if somebody would just write them...),
I expressed my desire for a book with the title "(Counter)examples in Algebraic Topology".
My reason for doing so ...

**38**

votes

**4**answers

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### 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 ...

**46**

votes

**9**answers

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### Fundamental groups of noncompact surfaces

I got fantastic answers to my previous question (about modern references for the fact that surfaces can be triangulated), so I thought I'd ask a related question. A basic fact about surface topology ...

**45**

votes

**0**answers

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### Atiyah's paper on complex structures on $S^6$

M. Atiyah has posted a preprint on arXiv on the non-existence of complex structure on the sphere $S^6$.
https://arxiv.org/abs/1610.09366
It relies on the topological $K$-theory $KR$ and in ...

**13**

votes

**6**answers

2k views

### Giving $Top(X,Y)$ an appropriate topology

I am not sure if its OK to ask this question here.
Let $Top$ be the category of topological spaces. Let $X,Y$ be objects in $Top$.
Let $F:\mathbb{I}\rightarrow Top(X,Y)$ be a function (I will ...

**65**

votes

**7**answers

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### Cubical vs. simplicial singular homology

Singular homology is usually defined via singular simplices, but Serre in his thesis uses singular cubes, which he claims are better adapted to the study of fibre spaces. This young man (25 years old ...

**22**

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**5**answers

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### What mathematical treatment is there on the renormalization group flow in a space of Lagrangians?

What mathematical treatment is there on the renormalization group flow in a space of Lagrangians?

**48**

votes

**4**answers

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### Torsion in homology or fundamental group of subsets of Euclidean 3-space

Here's a problem I've found entertaining.
Is it possible to find a subset of 3-dimensional Euclidean space such that its homology groups (integer coefficients) or one of its fundamental groups ...

**32**

votes

**6**answers

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### How do you show that $S^{\infty}$ is contractible?

Here I mean the version with all but finitely many components zero.

**15**

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**3**answers

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### 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 ...

**13**

votes

**1**answer

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### Kuenneth-formula for group cohomology with nontrivial action on the coefficient

For a trivial action on the coefficient, we have the following Kuenneth formula
for group cohomology:
$$
H^n(G_1 \times G_2; M) \cong
[\oplus_{i= 0}^n H^i(G_1;M) \otimes_M H^{n-i}(G_2;M)]
\oplus [\...

**38**

votes

**6**answers

3k views

### Does $\mathbb C\mathbb P^\infty$ have a group structure?

Does $\mathbb C\mathbb P^\infty$ have a (commutative) group structure? More specifically, is it homeomorphic to $FS^2$, (the connected component of) the free commutative group on $S^2$?
$\mathbb C\...

**29**

votes

**2**answers

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### What are the “correct” conventions for defining Clifford algebras?

I have three related questions about conventions for defining Clifford algebras.
1) Let $(V, q)$ be a quadratic vector space. Should the Clifford algebra $\text{Cliff}(V, q)$ have defining ...

**41**

votes

**1**answer

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### Brown representability for non-connected spaces

In many places (on MO, elsewhere on the Internet, and perhaps even in some textbooks) one finds a statement of the classical Brown representability theorem that looks something like this:
If $F$ is ...

**7**

votes

**1**answer

339 views

### $G$ cocycle split to a coboundary in $J$, via a group extension

Consider a generic nontrivial $d$-cocycle $\omega_d^G \in H^d(G,U(1))$ in the cohomology group of a group $G$ with $U(1)=\mathbb{R}/\mathbb{Z}$ coefficient. In otherwords, here the $d$-cocycle $\...

**17**

votes

**7**answers

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### 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 ...

**13**

votes

**1**answer

1k views

### finite dimensional real division algebras

A celebrated theorem of Milnor and Kervaire asserts that any finite dimensional division algebra over the real numbers has dimension 1,2,4 or 8. This result is established using methods from algebraic ...

**121**

votes

**24**answers

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### Occurrences of (co)homology in other disciplines and/or nature

I am curious if the setup for (co)homology theory appears outside the realm of pure mathematics. The idea of a family of groups linked by a series of arrows such that the composition of consecutive ...

**80**

votes

**10**answers

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### Motivation for algebraic K-theory?

I'm looking for a big-picture treatment of algebraic K-theory and why it's important. I've seen various abstract definitions (Quillen's plus and Q constructions, some spectral constructions like ...

**80**

votes

**10**answers

8k views

### equivalence of Grothendieck-style versus Cech-style sheaf cohomology

Given a topological space $X$, we can define the sheaf cohomology of $X$ in
I. the Grothendieck style (as the right derived functor of the global sections functor $\Gamma(X,-)$)
or
II. the Čech ...

**111**

votes

**7**answers

13k views

### Topology and the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics

I was very happy to learn that the work which led to the award of the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics (shared between David J. Thouless, F. Duncan M. Haldane and J. Michael Kosterlitz) uses Topology. In ...

**60**

votes

**9**answers

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### understanding Steenrod squares

There is a function on $\mathbb{Z}/2\mathbb{Z}$-cohomology called Steenrod squaring: $Sq^i:H^k(X,\mathbb{Z}/2\mathbb{Z}) \to H^{k+i}(X,\mathbb{Z}/2\mathbb{Z})$. (Coefficient group suppressed from ...

**65**

votes

**9**answers

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### 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 ...

**38**

votes

**6**answers

8k views

### Why are local systems and representations of the fundamental group equivalent

My question: Let X be a sufficiently 'nice' topological space. Then there is an equivalence between representations of the fundamental group of X and local systems on X, i.e. sheaves on X locally ...

**32**

votes

**4**answers

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### Mathematically mature way to think about Mayer–Vietoris

This question is short but to the point: what is the "right" abstract framework where Mayer-Vietoris is just a trivial consequence?

**54**

votes

**2**answers

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### Are spectra really the same as cohomology theories?

Let $E \to F$ be a morphism of cohomology theories defined on finite CW complexes. Then by Brown representability, $E, F$ are represented by spectra, and the map $E \to F$ comes from a map of spectra. ...

**39**

votes

**7**answers

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### 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 ...

**61**

votes

**9**answers

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### What is a continuous path?

I would like some help, because I am getting mad trying to answer the following
Question: Let $X$ be a topological space, what is a continuous path in $X$?
Well, maybe you're already getting ...

**46**

votes

**3**answers

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### 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 ...

**38**

votes

**3**answers

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### The Origin(s) of Modular and Moduli

In mathematics and in physics, people use the terms "modular..." and "moduli space" very often. I was puzzled by the etymology, the origins and the similarity/equivalence/differences for these usages/...

**69**

votes

**1**answer

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### Does $\Bbb{CP}^{2n} \# \Bbb{CP}^{2n}$ ever support an almost complex structure?

This question has been crossposted from Math.SE in the hopes that it reaches a larger audience here.
$\Bbb{CP}^{2n+1} \# \Bbb{CP}^{2n+1}$ supports a complex structure: $\Bbb{CP}^{2n+1}$ has an ...

**19**

votes

**5**answers

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### 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 ...

**31**

votes

**8**answers

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### Why do we need model categories?

I cannot give a good answer to this question. And
2) Why this definition of model category is the right way to give a philosophy of homotopy theory? Why didn't we use any other definition?
3) Has ...

**24**

votes

**3**answers

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### (co)homology of symmetric groups

Let $S_n=\{\text{bijections }[n]\to[n]\}$ be the n-th symmetric group. Its (co)homology will be understood with trivial action. What are the $\mathbb{Z}$-modules $H_k(S_n;\mathbb{Z})$? Using GAP, we ...

**20**

votes

**3**answers

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### Cohomology of fibrations over the circle: how to compute the ring structure?

This question is inspired by Cohomology of fibrations over the circle Moreover, it can be considered a subquestion of the above, but somehow it seems to me that some of the more interesting points ...

**27**

votes

**5**answers

2k views

### Small simplicial complexes with torsion in their homology?

Fix a prime $p$. What is the smallest integer $n$ so that there is a simplicial complex on $n$ vertices with $p$-torsion in its homology?
For example, when $p=2$, there is a complex with 6 vertices (...

**26**

votes

**1**answer

2k views

### Not all manifolds can be triangulated: In which dimensions?

I know that Ciprian Manolescu has settled the triangulation conjecture in the negative: Not all manifolds can be triangulated. I've only read secondary literature on this result, which did not detail ...

**11**

votes

**4**answers

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### Cohomology groups of homogeneous spaces

Is there a general method to calculate the cohomology groups of homogeneous spaces ($G/H$), such as $\frac{U(4)}{U(2)\times U(2)}$, $\frac{U(5)}{U(2)\times U(3)}$, $U(4)/U(2)$, etc. If yes, could you ...

**53**

votes

**2**answers

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### Can a subset of the plane have nontrivial $H_2$ or $\pi_2$?

This is a question that occurred to me years ago when I was first learning algebraic topology. I've since learned that it's a somewhat aesthetically displeasing question, but I'm still curious about ...

**11**

votes

**2**answers

1k views

### Request: intermediate-level proof: every 2-homology class of a 4-manifold is generated by a surface.

Hi, everyone:
For the sake of context, I am a graduate student, and I have taken classes in
algebraic topology and differential geometry. Still, the 2 proofs I have found
are a little too terse for ...

**17**

votes

**6**answers

2k views

### Diffeomorphism of 3-manifolds

Surgery theory aims to measure the difference between simple homotopy types and diffeomorphism types. In 3 dimensions, geometrization achieves something much more nuanced than that. Still, I wonder ...

**4**

votes

**1**answer

226 views

### $SO(3)$ 2-cocycle trivialized to a 2-coboundary in $SU(2)$?

I was trying to understand this interesting question by example.
Let me follow their previous discussion and ask: Let a generic nontrivial 2-cocycle $\omega_2^G(g_1,g_2) \in H^2(G,\mathbb{R}/\mathbb{...