Differential topology is the field dealing with differentiable functions on differentiable manifolds. It is closely related to differential geometry and together they make up the geometric theory of differentiable manifolds.

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Can one average “close” smooth functions?

Suppose $M$ is a connected, smooth, second-countable manifold. Let $U \subset M^n$ be some neighbourhood of the diagonal. We will call a function $a: U \times \Delta_n \rightarrow M$ an "averaging ...
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Poincaré Duality with de Rham Cohomology

This is probably a fairly basic question: Poincaré Duality states the following: Given an $n$-manifold, the $k^{th}$ homology is isomorphic to the $(n-k)^{th}$ cohomology. So I was curious is there ...
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Compact submanifold represents a homology class

I've heard somewhere that a compact submanifold of a manifold gives a homology class of the whole manifold and vice versa. Can somebody explain this to me?
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What's the shining sparkle in the Sphere Inside-Out problem?

I've just seen the wonderfully done movie Sphere Inside Out, one about the Smale's paradox. And the first question came in mind is that, why it has to be so ugly? Why turning an ultimately simple ...
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Diffeomorphisms of $\mathbb{R}^n$

I recently realized that I don't know any non-linear diffeomorphisms of the plane (or $\mathbb{R}^n$ in general) except for linear ones, so I want to ask rather broad questions hoping to be pointed to ...
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How to construct a vector field without zero on an open manifold?

a friend asked me to pose the following problem: It is known that on an open manifold (connected, not compact and without boundary) there exists a vector field without zero, since its Euler ...
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Ambient Isotopy

From Hirsch's Differential Topology, p. 180. The first of the isotopy extension theorems says; Let $A\subset M$ be a compact submanifold and $F:V\times I \rightarrow S^{3}$ an isotopy of $A$. If ...
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Question about the proof of the index theorem appearing in Milnor's Morse Theory

I am trying to get through the proof of the index theorem. The background: I have been stuck for quite a while on the following point which Milnor says is evident: Let $\gamma: [0,1]\rightarrow M$ be ...
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Locally flat submanifold

Recently I found the following definition: Let $M^{n}$ be an $n-$dimensional topological manifold. Then $N^{k}\subseteq M^{n}$ is a locally flat submanifold if for every $x\in N$ there exists an open ...
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Proof that vector area is a boundary integral?

Let $M \subset \mathbb{R}^2$ be a closed topological disk and let $f: M \rightarrow \mathbb{R}^3$ be a smooth embedding; let $N$ be the corresponding unit normal field on $M$. The vector area is ...
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Are all vector bundles “flat vector bundles”?

This concept appears in Bott&Tu's GTM82. A flat vector bundle is one who has a particular trivialization with locally constant transition functions. Then my question is whether every vector bundle ...
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equivalence between differentiability definitions

In analysis course we encounter commonly the following definition of differentiable function: $f:U \rightarrow \mathbb{R^m}$, where $U \subset \mathbb{R^n}$ is differentiable when $\exists \ T \in ...
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An example of a derivation at a point on a $C^k$-manifold which is not a tangent vector

Let $M$ be a real $C^k$-manifold, $\mathscr{H}_x$ be the $\mathbb{R}$-algebra of germs of $C^k$-differentiable functions at $x \in M$. It is easy to show that $T_x M$ can be embedded into the space of ...
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Is a vector bundle orientable if and only if its dual bundle is orientable?

I was reading up on my dual spaces today and I made the following hypothesis: A vector bundle $\xi$ is orientable if and only if $\xi^*$ is orientable. This seems rather intuitive, and although ...
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Reversing the Ricci flow

Suppose $S$ is a closed, oriented surface (2-manifold) embedded in $\mathbb{R}^3$, which inherits the metric from $\mathbb{R}^3$, so that distances are measured by shortest paths on the surface. If ...
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Obstructions to lifting a map for the Hopf fibration

This is a bit of an elementary question, but suppose $\pi: \mathbb{S}^3\to \mathbb{S}^2$ is the Hopf fibration, are there reasonably computable obstructions to when a map $f:M\to \mathbb{S}^2$ can be ...
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A question about complex manifolds

Let $(M,J_{M})$ be a almost complex manifold and $(N,J_{N})$ be a complex manifold. I want to prove that $F^{*}(\mathcal{O}_{N})\subset\mathcal{O}_{M}$ implies that $F:M\rightarrow N$ is almost ...
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What does “locally trivial” do for us?

For the following we will work in the smooth category. (But examples in the topological category is also welcome.) The usual definition of a fibre bundle is Def A fibre bundle is the quadruple ...
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basic differential forms

Given a fiber bundle $f: E\rightarrow M$ with connected fibers we call the image $f^*(\Omega^k(M))\subset \Omega^k(E)$ the subspace of basic forms. Clearly, for any vertical vector field $X$ on $E$ we ...
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An exercise in Spivak's *Calculus on Manifolds*

Problem 5-6 in Michael Spivak's Calculus on Manifolds reads: If $f:\mathbb R^n\to\mathbb R^m$, the graph of $f$ is $\{(x,y):y=f(x)\}$. Show that the graph of $f$ is an $n$-dimensional manifold if ...
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Are there bounded surfaces without boundary that are noncompact?

I am aware of the Heine-Borel theorem, which says that closed and bounded is the same as compact in $\mathbb{R}^n$. My question is: are there (connected) surfaces without boundary embedded in ...
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Equivalent definitions of differential map

Let $f:M\rightarrow N$ be a smooth map between smooth manifolds, let $p\in M$ and $v\in T_{p}M$. Two different definitions of differential maps on tangent space: let $\gamma$ be a smooth curve on $M$ ...
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Useful topology on space of smooth structures on $\mathbb R^4$?

Mathoverflow is intimidating, so I thought I'd ask here first (second). If I don't get any useful answers here in a few days, I'll ask there. $Q_0$: Is there any use for a topology on the (continuum ...
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Embedding a manifold in the disk

I don't understand a sentence made by Hirsch in his Differential Topology at page 175: If $k > n+1$ and $M^n = \partial W^{n+1}$, then an embedding $M^n \hookrightarrow S^{n+k}$ extends to a neat ...
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Is $\mathbb{S}^\infty$ exotic

During construction of universal bundles one considers (for example) the infinite real projective space $\mathbb{R}\mathbb{P}^\infty$, coming from the sphere $\mathbb{S}^\infty$. My question is, are ...
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Texts on Principal Bundles, Characteristic Classes, Intro to 4-manifolds / Gauge Theory

I am looking for a textbook that might serve as an introduction to principal bundles, curvature forms and characteristic classes, and perhaps towards 4-manifolds and gauge theory. Currently, the only ...
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Construction of Exotic Spheres

Milnor was constructing exotic spheres (at least in dimension 7) by bundle theory. Having proven the existence of such an exotic beast, I wonder if something as this is possible: Let $\mathbb{S}^n$ ...
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753 views

The definition of submanifold of a manifold with boundary

What is the exact definition of submanifold of a manifold with boundary? For example, when $H$ is the half space of the plane and S is a cycle which intersects with the origin in the half plane. Then ...
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Definition of Cobordism

I am currently trying to read Quillen's Cobordism paper - On the formal group laws of unoriented and complex cobordism theory Bull. Amer. Math. Soc, 75 (1969) pp. 1293–1298. Still on the first page ...
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What is wrong with this proof (that all vector bundles of the same rank are isomorphic)?

Suppose I have two vector bundles $E \rightarrow M, E' \rightarrow M$ of rank $k$ on a smooth manifold $M$. Let $\mathcal{E}(M), \mathcal{E'}(M)$ denote their spaces of smooth sections. We can ...
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Intuition for smooth manifolds

Consider the graphs of the functions $f_1(x) = |x|$, and $f_2(x) = x$ under the subspace topology of $\mathbb{R}^2$. Both of these graphs are smooth manifolds, just pick coordinate charts to be $(x, ...
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Confusion about Poincaré-Hopf

The two following theorems appear to be contradictory. Both are proved in Milnor's "Topology from the differentiable viewpoint." I'm sure I'm overlooking something incredibly trivial: Let $f$ be a ...
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Compute the degree of map

Let $S:SU(2)\rightarrow SU(2)$ be defined as $S(X)=X^{4}$. Compute the degree of $S$. Now, $SU(2)$ is homeomorphic to $S^{3}$, so the degree can be taken as:$$ \int_{S^{3}}S^{*}\omega=(\deg ...
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Degree of Gauss map equal to half the Euler characteristic and Poincaré-Hopf

The Poincaré-Hopf theorem states that for a smooth compact $m$-manifold $M$ without boundary and a vector field $X\in\operatorname{Vect}(M)$ of $M$ with only isolated zeroes we have the equality ...
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Books on topology and geometry of Grassmannians

Grassmannians are a pretty useful subject in numerous fields of mathematics (and physics). In fact, it was the first non-trivial higher-dimensional example that was given in an introductory projective ...
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Software to draw links or knots

I am looking for software that can aid me in drawing knots and links. There are of course (examples) knotplotters all over the web, but they can only draw specific knots. What I am looking for is the ...
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Why do we integrate 1-forms?

So integration of a 1-form $\omega$ over a path $\gamma$ is defined to be the integral of the pullback of $\omega$. Why does this make sense? Why don't we integrate over a vector field instead, like ...
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Understanding differential form

Let $M$ be a smooth manifold. A differential form of degree $k$ is a smooth section of the $k$th exterior power of the cotangent bundle of $M$. Does it mean that a differential form of degree ...
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Tangent bundle of $\mathbb{RP}^n$

I am trying to show that $T\mathbb{RP}^n$ and $\text{Hom}(\gamma_1,\gamma_1^{\perp})$ are isomorphic bundles over $\mathbb{RP}^n$. For $[x]\in\mathbb{RP}^n$, let $L_x$ be the line in ...
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Algebraic Link/Knot not of the Torus Type

I'm studying Milnor's Singularities of Complex Hypersurfaces, and a small, perhaps moot, point in Chapter 10 has me thinking in circles. (I asked a related but different question here). Here is some ...
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De Rham Cohomology Question

Let $M$ be a compact connected $n$-manifold without boundary. Let $\mu\in\Omega^{n-1}(M)$, show that there exists a point $p\in M$ such that $d\mu(p)=0$.
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Is there such kind of theorem saying two homotopic ways of attaching handle result in diffeomorphic manifolds?

M' is a manifold with boundary. One can attaching a handle $h:=D^k\times D^{n-k}$ along $f:S^{k-1}\times D^{n-k}\rightarrow M'$ forming $M=M'\cup_f h$. Suppose f is homotopic with f', and that ...
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Smooth structure on the topological space

Consider a topological space $X$. Lee in Introduction to Smooth Manifolds wrote that it is impossible to introduce a smooth structure on the topological manifold based only on topology (i.e. ...
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Relationship between integrable 1-plane fields and a one parameter group of diffeomorphisms

A 1-plane field on a manifold is a smooth choice of a 1 dimensional subspace of the tangent space at every point. If this plane field is integrable then there is an associated 1-dimensional foliation ...
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How to prove that the complex in Morse homology is isomorphic to the one in cellular homology

Since every stable submanifold with orientation in Morse homology is actually a cell in cellular homology, it suffices to prove the two boundary map coincide. Intuitively one may accept it is true by ...
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why not just 2 charts to make atlas for sphere?

In http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manifold_(mathematics)#Construction, it says that 6 charts can be used to make an atlas for a sphere. But the text shows that you have a chart for the northern ...
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Properties of Surgery on Manifolds?

I am trying to give a brief explanation in which I make use of the concept of surgery on an $m$-manifold $M$. This is along the lines of (and taken generously from) the Wikipedia entry on Surgery; ...
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Topology of pseudo projective space

I don't know if "pseudo projective space" is a general accepted term, but I once read a book on general topology where the term was used for $\mathbb{S}^n / (\mathbb{Z}/m\mathbb{Z})$ (where you get ...
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4-Manifolds of which there exist no Kirby diagrams

In 4-Manifold theory one makes often the use of Kirby Diagrams to construct 4-manifolds (compact or non-compact) with specific gauge and topological properties (for example small betti numbers, spin ...
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holomorphic exoticness

A topological manifold is an exotic copy of another smooth manifold if it is homeomorphic to it, but not diffeomorphic (and when you switch diffeomorphic by homotopic, you get a fake copy, following ...