Questions about algebraic methods and invariants to study and classify topological spaces: homotopy groups, (co)-homology groups, fundamental groups, covering spaces, and beyond.

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70
votes
6answers
7k views

Intuition of the meaning of homology groups

I am studying homology groups and I am looking to try and develop, if possible, a little more intuition about what they actually mean. I've only been studying homology for a short while, so if ...
19
votes
5answers
14k views

Best Algebraic Topology book/Alternative to Allen Hatcher free book?

Allen Hatcher seems impossible and this is set as the course text? So was wondering is there a better book than this? It's pretty cheap book compared to other books on amazon and is free online. ...
36
votes
2answers
4k views

Which manifolds are parallelizable?

Recall that a manifold $M$ of dimension $n$ is parallelizable if there are $n$ vector fields that form a basis of the tangent space $T_x M$ at every point $x \in M$. This is equivalent to the tangent ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

Topological group: Multiplying two loops is homotopic to linking these paths?

Let G be a topological group and let $s_1$ and $s_2$ be loops in G (both loops are based at the identity e of G). Is it true that the loop $s_1s_2$ (where the multiplication is the one of the group ...
12
votes
7answers
3k views

How can I prove formally that the projective plane is a Hausdorff space?

I want to prove the Hausdorff property of the projective space with this definition: the sphere $S^n$ with the antipodal points identified. It's seems easy, but I can't prove formally with this ...
14
votes
1answer
639 views

Does $gHg^{-1}\subseteq H$ imply $gHg^{-1}= H$? [duplicate]

Let $G$ be a group, $H<G$ a subgroup and $g$ an element of $G$. Let $\lambda_g$ denote the inner automorphism which maps $x$ to $gxg^{-1}$. I wonder if $H$ can be mapped to a proper subgroup of ...
21
votes
1answer
1k views

Is the fundamental group of every subset of $\mathbb{R}^2$ torsion free?

It seems that the fundamental group of any subset of $\mathbb{R}^2$ will not have an element of finite order. Though the $3$-dimensional version is an open problem I couldn't immediately see why it is ...
10
votes
2answers
2k views

CW complexes and manifolds

What is the strongest known theorem (if any) that classify which manifolds can be built as CW complexes? Thank you guys. This is just a question I thought of during class, obviously not homework...
6
votes
3answers
2k views

the cone is contractible

Let $X$ be a topological space. I want to show that the cone $CX$ is contractible. Here we construct a deformation retraction from $CX$ to the tip point of the cone $$H_t: CX\to CX;\; (x,t')\mapsto (...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

Fundamental group of complement of $n$ lines through the origin in $\mathbb{R}^3$

Just a quick question to verify whether I'm right. Claim: The fundamental group of the complement of $n$ lines through the origin in $\mathbb{R}^3$ is $F_n$, the free group on $n$ generators. Proof:...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Fundamental group of a torus with points removed

Question 5.33 from "Topology and its Applications" by Baesner is to compute the fundamental group of the torus ($T^2$) with $n$ points removed. I can "see" in my mind that if we remove one point we ...
21
votes
3answers
4k views

What is a natural isomorphism?

I came across the adjective "natural" many times in my reading and I think this has something to do with category theory. Could someone please illustrate the idea behind this adjective to me? Many ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

Contractible vs. Deformation retract to a point. [duplicate]

I have a quick question about the difference between the two concepts in the title. The question is basically ex.6 (b) in Hatcher's book titled "Algebraic Topology". Let $X$ be the subspace of $R^2$ ...
30
votes
3answers
2k views

Consequences of Degree Theory

I'm preparing a presentation on an overview of algebraic and differential topology, and my introduction includes some motivational material on Degree Theory. I have two fundamental and invaluable ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Two CW complexes with isomorphic homotopy groups and homology, yet not homotopy equivalent

A standard example of two CW complexes which have isomorphic homotopy groups but are not homotopy equivalent is $ RP^2 \times S^3$ and $RP^3 \times S^2$. The easiest way to see that they are not ...
11
votes
5answers
438 views

$\varphi$ in $\operatorname{Hom}{(S^1, S^1)}$ are of the form $z^n$

I'd like to see a proof why $\varphi \in \operatorname{Hom}{(S^1, S^1)}$ looks like $z^n$ for an integer $n$. At first I thought I could argue that if I have a homomorphism that maps $e^{ix}$ to some ...
8
votes
1answer
282 views

Is homology determined by cohomology?

I am aware of the universal coefficients theorem for cohomology which implies that the homology groups completely determine the cohomology groups. I am wondering if cohomology determines homology in ...
13
votes
1answer
2k views

Homotopy equivalence of universal cover

As part of am exam question (Q21F here), I'm trying to prove that if $X$ and $Y$ are path-connected, locally path-connected spaces with universal covers $\widetilde{X}$ and $\widetilde{Y}$, ...
9
votes
1answer
1k views

Why doesn't the “zig-zag” comb deformation retract onto a point, even though it's contractible?

I am starting to read Hatcher's book on Algebraic Topology, and I am a little stuck with exercise 6(c) in Chapter $0$. Unfortunately a picture is involved so it doesn't quite make sense for me to ...
5
votes
2answers
596 views

If a covering map has a section, is it a $1$-fold cover?

If $q: E\rightarrow X$ is a covering map that has a section $(i.e. f: X\rightarrow E, q\circ f=Id_X)$ does that imply that $E$ is a 1-fold cover?
423
votes
6answers
70k views

Why can you turn clothing right-side-out?

My nephew was folding laundry, and turning the occasional shirt right-side-out. I showed him a "trick" where I turned it right-side-out by pulling the whole thing through a sleeve instead of the ...
34
votes
4answers
7k views

Learning Roadmap for Algebraic Topology

I am now considering about studying algebraic topology. There are a lot of books about it, and I want to choose the most comprehensive book among them. I have a solid background in Abstract Algebra, ...
41
votes
2answers
2k views

How do different definitions of “degree” coincide?

I've recently read about a number of different notions of "degree." Reading over Javier Álvarez' excellent answer for the thousandth time finally prompted me to ask this question: How exactly do ...
33
votes
3answers
2k views

Roadmap to study Atiyah-Singer index theorem

I am a physics undergrad and want to pursue a PhD in Math (geometry or topology). I study it almost completely by myself, as the program in my country offers very less flexibility to take non ...
32
votes
3answers
2k views

$\pi_{1}({\mathbb R}^{2} - {\mathbb Q}^{2})$ is uncountable

Question: Show that $\pi_{1}({\mathbb R}^{2} - {\mathbb Q}^{2})$ is uncountable. Motivation: This is one of those problems that I saw in Hatcher and felt I should be able to do, but couldn't quite ...
11
votes
1answer
4k views

Computing the homology and cohomology of connected sum

Suppose $M$ and $N$ are two connected oriented smooth manifolds of dimension $n$. Conventionally, people use $M\#N$ to denote the connecte sum of the two. (The connected sum is constructed from ...
10
votes
1answer
5k views

Homology of surface of genus $g$

This is a homework question given to me by someone of the community here and it's a generalisation of this. I was wondering if you could have a look and tell me if it's right. Thanks for your help! ...
30
votes
1answer
2k views

Is this space contractible?

Let $X$ be the following topological space (with the subspace topology): Connect the rational points of $([0,1]\cap \mathbb{Q})\times \{0\}$ with the point $(0,1)$ and connect the points of $([-1,0]\...
12
votes
2answers
417 views

Torsion on $\pi_1(X)$, $X$ connected and open in $\mathbb{R}^n$

Can the fundamental group of an open connected subset $X$ of $\mathbb{R}^n$ have a torsion element?
9
votes
4answers
1k views

Homology of $S^1 \times (S^1 \vee S^1)$

I'm trying to solve question 2.2.9(b) in Hatcher's Algebraic Topology. Question: Calculate the homology groups of $X=S^1 \times (S^1 \vee S^1)$. My attempt: I try to use the Mayer-Vietoris sequence....
5
votes
4answers
2k views

Why this map is a covering map?

I'm trying to find the universal covering space of the Klein bottle. I know that $\mathbb R^2$ covers the Klein bottle , but I don't know how to prove, I found this proof on internet: Someone knows ...
12
votes
2answers
466 views

A comparison between the fundamental groupoid and the fundamental group

Are there two path connected topological spaces $X,Y$ such that the fundamental groupoid of $X$ is not isomorphic to the fundamental groupoid of $Y$ but the fundamental group of $X$ is isomorphic to ...
3
votes
1answer
238 views

Is there a “geometric” interpretation of inert primes?

I am currently learning about étale morphisms and how they behave a lot like covering maps. Now if I'm in the example of the ring of integers of a number field, it is possible to think of it as a ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Why does the “zig-zag comb” weakly deformation retract onto a point?

I am starting to read Hatcher's book on Algebraic Topology, and I am a little stuck with exercise 6 in Chapter 0. Let $Z$ be the zigzag subspace of $Y$ homeomorphic to $\mathbb{R}$ indicated by ...
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Natural examples of deformation retracts that are not strong deformation retracts

The question here asks for examples of deformation retracts which are not strong deformation retracts. A comment is given refering the asker to Exercise 0.6 in Hatcher. (The description of this space ...
9
votes
3answers
3k views

Fundamental group of $S^2$ with north and south pole identified

Consider the quotient space obtained by identifying the north and south pole of $S^2$. I think the fundamental group should be infinite cyclic, but I do not know how to prove this. If it is infinite ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

Triangulation of Torus

I was asked to find out the simplicial homology groups of the torus $T=S^1\times{}S^1$ embedded in $R^3$. I triangulated the torus like this : Here the $0$-simplices are $\{v_0\}$. $1$-simplices ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

contractible and simply connected

Every contractible space X is simply connected because X is homotopy equivalent to a point. Is there a direct proof of this fact? There obviously is a (free) homotopy between any loop and the trivial ...
7
votes
2answers
187 views

Poincare duality isomorphism problem in the book “characteristic classes”

This is the problem from the book, "characteristic classes" written by J.W. Milnor. [Problem 11-C] Let $M = M^n$ and $A = A^p$ be compact oriented manifolds with smooth embedding $i : M \rightarrow ...
6
votes
2answers
963 views

$G$ is Topological $\implies$ $\pi_1(G,e)$ is Abelian

Hypothesis: Let $G$ be a topological group with identity element $e$. Let $\mu$ denote the multiplication mapping in $G$. Goal: Show that $\pi_1(G,e) = \pi(G)$ is an abelian group via the hint below....
9
votes
1answer
1k views

Star convex set is simply connected.

We define a set $S \subset \Bbb{R}^n$ to be star convex if there exists $a \in S$, such that the line segment connecting $a$ and any other point in $S$ lies entirely in $S$. I would like to show that ...
7
votes
0answers
2k views

The simply connected coverings of two homotopy equivalent spaces are homotopy equivalent [duplicate]

This is exercise 1.3.8 in Hatcher: Let $\tilde{X}$ and $\tilde{Y}$ be simply-connected covering spaces of path connected, locally path-connected spaces $X$ and $Y$. Show that if $X\simeq Y$ then $\...
6
votes
2answers
836 views

Spaces with equal homotopy groups but different homology groups?

Since it's fairly easy to come up with a two spaces that have different homotopy groups but the same homology groups ($S^2\times S^4$ and $\mathbb{C}\textrm{P}^3$). Are there any nice examples of ...
4
votes
2answers
720 views

Hatcher Ch.0 (P18) #5 Inclusion Map is Nullhomotopic

Question: Show that if a space $X$ deformation retracts to a point $x ∈ X$, then for each neighborhood $U$ of $x$ in $X$ $\exists$ a neighborhood $V ⊂ U$ of $x$ such that the inclusion map $V \...
3
votes
3answers
653 views

$M \times N$ orientable if and only if $M, N$ orientable

For two manifolds $M$ and $N$ I'm trying to prove that $M \times N$ is orientable if and only if $M$ and $N$ are orientable. My attempt so far: $\impliedby)$ Assume $M, N$ are orientable. Then $\...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Showing that an inclusion is null homotopic

I'm trying to do exercise 5 on page 18 in Hatcher: Show that if a space $X$ deformation retracts to a point $x \in X$, then for each neighborhood $U$ of $x$ in $X$ there exists a neighborhood $V \...
16
votes
4answers
3k views

What algebraic topology book to read after Hatcher's?

I've currently finished chapter 2 of his book and done all the exercises of in chapter 0, 1 and 2. Was wondering when I finished reading this book what book do I read next in algebraic topology?
17
votes
3answers
2k views

Fundamental group of GL(n,C) is isomorphic to Z. How to learn to prove facts like this?

I know, fundamental group of $GL(n,\mathbb{C})$ is isomorphic to $\mathbb{Z}$. It's written in Wikipedia. Actually, I've succeed in proving this, but my proof is two pages long and very technical. I ...
14
votes
1answer
790 views

Intuitive Approach to de Rham Cohomology

The intuition behind homology may be summarized in a sentence: to find objects without boundary which are not the boundary of an object. This has geometric meaning and explains the algebraic boundary ...
23
votes
1answer
2k views

Cohomology of projective plane

How I can compute cohomology de Rham of the projective plane $P^{2}(\mathbb{R})$ using Mayer vietoris or any other methods?