# Tagged Questions

Characteristic classes are invariants of bundles living in the cohomology of the base. The most common examples of characteristic classes are the Chern, Stiefel–Whitney, and Pontryagin classes.

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### How to interpret the Euler class?

Although I (hardly) understand the formal definition of the Euler class, I have very little intuition of it. I understand that the Euler class of $E\to X$ is zero if and only if there is a section, ...
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### First Pontryagin class on real Grassmannian manifold?

I wonder if real Grassmannian manifold $SO(p+q)/SO(p) \times SO(q)$ have nontrivial first Pontryagin class? I only have physics background and know really little about characteristic class theory.
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### The Stiefel–Whitney classes of a Cartesian product

Exercise 4-A of Milnor and Stasheff's book Characteristic Classes reads: Show that the Stiefel–Whitney classes of a Cartesian product are given by w_k(\xi\times\eta) = \sum^k_{i=0} w_i(\xi)\...
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### Is $[N]^\#([N])$ congruent to $w_n(\nu_N)([N])$ mod $2$, where $\nu_N$ is the normal bundle of the embedding of $N$ in $M$?

Let $M$ be a closed, smooth, orientable $2n$-manifold, and let $N$ be a closed, smooth, orientable $n$-submanifold. Let $[N]^\#$ denote the cohomology class (Poincaré) dual to the homology class $[N]$....
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### Manifolds with vanishing Stiefel-Whitney classes but are not stably parallelizable

It is known that if a manifold is stably parallelizable, then it's Stiefel-Whitney classes must vanish. Is the converse true? Note that we know that the converse cannot hold if stably parallelizable ...
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### All tangential Stiefel-Whitney numbers of $\mathbb{R}P^q$ are zero iff $q$ is odd, reference?

Where can I find a reference to the proof of the following fact? All tangential Stiefel-Whitney numbers of $\mathbb{R}P^q$ are zero if and only if $q$ is odd. I made a quick search through ...
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### Motivating Characteristic Classes Using $S^2$

Trying to understand characteristic classes, hoping someone can explain/fit my example below into the wider scheme of things: Chern's book says Characteristic classes are the simplest global ...
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### Chern character in odd K-theory

I'm familiar with the definition of Chern character for a vector bundle. This leads to the definition of Chern character for $K$ theory (even theory) with values in even cohomology (the definition ...
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### Intersection theory proof of the poincare hopf theorem.

Suppose that $M$ is a connected compact oriented smooth manifold, and $X:M\rightarrow TM$ a vector field with isolated zeros. Then if $Z$ is the zero set of $X$ (a $0$-dimensional oriented manifold), ...
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### explicit cocycle representing Stiefel-Whitney class in Milnor and Stasheff

I am trying to do Problem 7A in Characteristic Classes by Milnor and Stasheff which asks the reader to do the following: Identify explicitly the cocycle $C^r(G_n) \cong H^r(G_n)$ which ...
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### Obstruction cocycle of Stiefel manifold

I was reading about the interpretation of Stiefel Whitney classes as obstructions from Milnor-Stasheff's book and I got stuck at a step. The context is the following. Let $E \to B$ be a vector bundle ...
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### How can we detect the existence of almost-complex structures?

Any smooth $2n$-manifold $M$ comes with a well-defined map $f:M\rightarrow BGL_{2n}(\mathbb{R})$ (up to homotopy) classifying its tangent bundle. Since $GL_{2n}(\mathbb{R})$ deformation-retracts onto ...
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### Prop 12.8 in Bott & Tu

Yo! This proposition in Bott & Tu have been haunting me for a year or so since I always have to come back to this book for references. More precisely, the second equality in Proposition 12.8 in ...
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### Finding the chern classes of line bundles over projective space using homotopy classes of clutching functions

I have just started to learn about characteristic classes and before learning more about the ways to compute them it would be nice to compute some examples using tools I already know. I only started ...
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### Determining an explicit line bundle over surface

The following is a explicitly defined complex line bundle $E\to\Sigma$ over a closed surface: View $\Sigma$ as a subset of $\mathbb{R}^3$ and consider its Gauss map $n:\Sigma\to S^2$ given by (outward-...
Let $X$ be a compact complex manifold. Assume that a finite group acts on $X$ freely. Then the quotient $X/G$ is again a compact complex manifold. I wonder if there is a good way to compute Chern ...
How does one see that the second Stiefel-Whitney class is zero for all orientable surfaces. For $S^2$ this can be seen by $TS^2$ being stably trivial, and for $S^1 \times S^1$ one can use \$T (S^1 \...