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Could you point me to good resources for self-study of general topology. I want to learn the basics and how to prove theorems about structures like polyhedra by myself.

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Hmmm, I'm not sure whether general topology studies polyhedra - that's generally approached by algebraic topology. General topology is often what is called "point-set topology." –  Thomas Andrews Feb 14 '13 at 17:15
@ThomasAndrews Can I safely study algebraic topology without studying general topology? –  saadtaame Feb 14 '13 at 17:18
You need some basic point-set topology before you can get to algebraic topology, yes. I don't mean to imply that you won't need any of it, only that a lot of general topology is not needed, and general topology is not sufficient to study polyhedra. –  Thomas Andrews Feb 14 '13 at 17:22
"A first course in topology" by J. McCleary is a concise introduction to topology, and towards the end, it covers some theory about simplicial complexes (and polyhedra). –  user39280 Feb 14 '13 at 17:25
I found this resource: pdmi.ras.ru/~olegviro/topoman/part1.pdf. Can you please take a quick look and tell me if that's good? –  saadtaame Feb 14 '13 at 17:48

3 Answers 3

up vote 6 down vote accepted

A great resource for self-study in Topology is James Munkres' Topology. You can "preview" the text and it contents at the link given. It's divided into two sections, the second being algebraic topology.

You'll also get an overview of Topology (Wikipedia), its branches and the topics related to those branches/subfields, to better hone in on your area of interest. There are a number of references cited, some with links, along with helpful resources that may aid in your self-study.

A good follow-up to Munkres, and more in the direction of your interests, I presume, is then (of course) Algebraic Topology by Allen Hatcher (freely and legally available online, courtesy of the author! The link takes you to Hatcher's home page, where you can access his text, as well as supplementary resources, e.g. notes in point-set-topology.) You might want to peruse Hatcher's text to get a better idea what preliminary material you should cover in Munkres; that might cut down on the amount of Munkres you'd want to cover.

Another sound intro to Topology is A First Course in Topology by J. McCleary (again, you can preview the text at the given link).

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This book is available in my university's library: amazon.com/Three-Dimensional-Geometry-Topology-Vol-1/dp/…. Is it worth reading? –  saadtaame Feb 14 '13 at 18:24
Why did you delete your answer? What's wrong Amy!? I hope this + gets you better, although it is very small. –  B. S. Feb 28 '13 at 20:17
It only addressed part of the problem...anyway, thanks for you kind words! I'm having a slow-ish day today! –  amWhy Feb 28 '13 at 20:23

Another really good resource for topology is "Introduction to Topology and Modern Analysis" by George Simmons. I used it alot in graduate school.

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I would have to disagree slightly about the Munkres recommendation; It is a nice book, and the second edition was what was used when I studied topology at university. However, it may be a bit hard to use for self-study, since it is concerned very much with going though results and definitions, and does not go much into the motivations of those definitions, or their applications. A good lecturer can fill those in, but unfortunately I did not have one of those, so the book was not very useful to me. The same might be true when it's used for self-study.

I can recomennd Ronald Brown's "Topology and Groupoids", however, which in my opinion manages to combine the "abstract" nature of topology with a concrete understanding very well. It is a bit idiosyncratic in that it is based more on category theory than set theory, but if what I've understood about the contemporary development of topology is right, that is the direction that the field is moving in anyway.

I have also heard good things about Bredon's "Topology and Geometry" (from people whose judgment I trust in these matters, that is) but I haven't studied it properly yet myself.

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Bredon's book is at a different level than Munkres, probably not what OP wants. –  user27126 Feb 19 '13 at 8:26

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