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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Teaching myself differential topology and differential geometry

I have a hazy notion of some stuff in differential geometry and a better, but still not quite rigorous understanding of basics of differential topology. I have decided to fix this lacuna once for all....
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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 ...
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1answer
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Is there an easy way to show which spheres can be Lie groups?

I heard that using some relatively basic differential geometry, you can show that the only spheres which are Lie groups are $S^0$, $S^1$, and $S^3$. My friend who told me this thought that it ...
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Is $M=\{(x,|x|): x \in (-1, 1)\}$ not a differentiable manifold?

Let $M=\{(x,|x|): x \in (-1, 1)\}$. Then there is an atlas with only one coordinate chart $(M, (x, |x|) \mapsto x)$ for $M$. We don't need any coordinate transformation maps to worry about ...
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1answer
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Orientation of hypersurface

Some books on mean curvature flow (e.g. Mantegazza, Ecker) state that an embedded hypersurface in $\mathbb{R}^{k+1}$ is orientable (Mantegazza page 3, Ecker page 110). In other words, they assume the ...
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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 ...
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Applications of Pseudodifferential Operators

I am very interested in just about anything that has to do with PDE's, and inevitably pseudodifferential operators comes up. Its obvious that such a novel way of looking at PDE's would be important, ...
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2answers
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Why maximal atlas

This has been on the back of my mind for one whole semester now. Its possible that in my stupidity I am missing out on something simple. But, here goes: Let $M$ be a topological manifold. Now, even ...
27
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4answers
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Is every Compact $n$-Manifold a Compactification of $\mathbb{R}^n$?

I read the result that every compact $n$-manifold is a compactification of $\mathbb{R}^n$. Now, for surfaces, this seems clear: we take an n-gon, whose interior (i.e., everything in the n-gon except ...
2
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1answer
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The degree of antipodal map.

I am trying to solve the problem A map without fixed points. But I am not certain about the degree of antipodal map. I my thought, since the preimage of a point $y \in S^k$ is just $-y$, the degree ...
41
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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
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3answers
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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 ...
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1answer
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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 ...
20
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958 views

The “Easiest” non-smoothable manifold

In 1960, Kervaire found the first example of a PL-manifold which does not admit a smooth structure. Since then, I understand that there are many examples of non-smoothable manifolds that can be built. ...
18
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4answers
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Is every embedded submanifold globally a level set?

It's a well-known theorem (Corollary 8.10 in Lee Smooth) that given a smooth map of manifolds $\phi:M\rightarrow N$ and a regular value $p\in N$ of $\phi$, the level set $\phi^{-1}(p)\subset M$ is a ...
17
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Product of spheres embeds in Euclidean space of 1 dimension higher

This problem was given to me by a friend: Prove that $\Pi_{i=1}^m \mathbb{S}^{n_i}$ can be smoothly embedded in a Euclidean space of dimension $1+\sum_{i=1}^m n_i$. The solution is apparently ...
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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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Definition of “a topological manifold with corners”.

How can we define a topological manifold with corners and its corners? Then, do we use "invariance of domain" to define corners, as we really need this theorem in order to define "boundaries of a ...
2
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1answer
329 views

Preimage orientation.

On Guillemin and Pollack's Differential Topology Page 100. Let $f: X \to Y$ be a smooth map with $f \pitchfork Z$ and $\partial f \pitchfork Z$, where $X,Y,Z$ are oriented and the last two are ...
2
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2answers
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$f^*(w \wedge \theta) = (f^*w) \wedge (f^* \theta)$

I am reading Guillemin and Pollack's Differential Topology. For the proof on Page 164, I was not able to get through the last step. $$f^*(w \wedge \theta) = (f^*w) \wedge (f^* \theta)$$ ...
23
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1answer
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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?
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Relationship between the zeros of a vector field and the fixed points of its flow

I'm having a little trouble here and would appreciate some hints. Let $M$ be a compact manifold without boundary and let $X$ be a smooth vector field on $M$ with only isolated zeros. Let $\theta_t$ ...
10
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3answers
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Let $G$ be a Lie group. Show that there is a diffeomorphism $TG \cong G \times T_e G$.

Since $T_p G$ is isomorphic to $T_e G$ for all $p\in G$, it makes sense that each vector in $T_p G$ can be identified with a vector in $T_e G$. Hence, to make the map from $TG$ one to one, we must ...
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1answer
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If $f\!: X\simeq Y$, then $X\!\cup_\varphi\!\mathbb{B}^k \simeq Y\!\cup_{f\circ\varphi}\!\mathbb{B}^k$.

How can I prove that if two spaces $X$ and $Y$ are homotopy equivalent, then the corresponding spaces obtained by gluing a $k$-cell are also equivalent? In detail, if $\varphi\!:\mathbb{S}^{k-1}\!\...
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$f^*dx_i = \sum_{j=1}^l \frac{\partial f_i}{\partial y_j} dy_j = df_i$

Guillemin and Pollack's Differential Topology Page 164: $U \subset \mathbb{R}^k$ and $V \subset \mathbb{R}^l$ be open subsets. Let $f: V \to U$ to smooth. Use $x_1, \dots, x_k$ for the standard ...
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2answers
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map of arbitrary degree from compact oriented manifold into sphere

This is a question from a qualifying exam. Let $X$ be a compact, oriented $n$-dimensional manifold. Show that for any $k \in \mathbb{Z}$, there exists a continuous map $f: X \to S^n$ of degree $k$. I ...
15
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1answer
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A fiber bundle over Euclidean space is trivial.

What's the easiest way to see this? The only thing I could think to do was try to patch together trivializations. I couldn't find a way to make that work. Thank you! edit: For the record, here's why ...
3
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2answers
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Does there exist a $1$-form $\alpha$ with $d\alpha = \omega$?

Let $\omega := dx \wedge dy$ denote the standard area form on $\mathbb{R}^2$. As the question title suggests, does there exist a $1$-form $\alpha$ with $d\alpha = \omega$?
9
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1answer
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embedding of $\mathbb{RP}^2$ in $\mathbb{R}^4$

Consider the classic map $$F:\mathbb{RP}^2\rightarrow \mathbb{R}^4$$ defined by $$F[x,y,z]=(x^2-y^2,xy,xz,yz)$$. This defines a smooth embedding of $\mathbb{RP}^2$ in $\mathbb{R}^4$. It is clearly ...
6
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Functionally structured spaces and manifolds

The question requires some definitions that I have listed below for your convenience. They can be found in Chapter VI, pages 297-298 of Bredon's Introduction to Compact Transformation Groups. On a ...
8
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1answer
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A manifold such that its boundary is a deformation retract of the manifold itself.

If we have a compact orientable manifold $M$, we know that $\partial M$ is not a deformation retract of $M$. This follows from Poincaré Duality or Stokes Theorem. If we take away compactness, this is ...
7
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Tautological line bundle over $\mathbb{RP}^n$ isomorphic to normal bundle? Also “splitting” of transition functions

Hallo fellow mathematicians. I try to understand why the normal bundle of $\mathbb{PR}^n$ is isomorphic (in the category of vector bundles) to the tautological line Bundle. More aptly, why $\nu_{\...
10
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Is there a retraction of a non-orientable manifold to its boundary?

It's easy to show using Stokes theorem that a compact orientable manifold with boundary cannot retract to its boundary, by choosing a volume form. But for the non-orientable case I don't know if this ...
7
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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 ...
2
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2answers
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Do we need additional assumptions for problem 3-37 (b) in Spivak´s calculus on Manifolds?

Problem 3-37 (b) reads: Let $A_{n}=[1-1/2^{n},1-1/2^{n+1}]$. Suppose that $f:(0,1)\rightarrow \mathbb{R}$ satisfies $\int_{A_{n}}f=(-1)^{n}/n$ and $f(x)=0$ for any $x\notin$ any $A_{n}$. Show that $\...
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$f: X \to Y$ is a smooth map and $\omega$ is a $p$-form on $Y$, what is $\omega[f(x)]$?

I am reading Guillemin and Pollack's Differential Topology Page 163: If $f: X \to Y$ is a smooth map and $\omega$ is a $p$-form on $Y$, define a $p$-form $f^*\omega$ on $X$ as follows: $$f^*\omega(...
118
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Why can't differentiability be generalized as nicely as continuity?

The question: Can we define differentiable functions between (some class of) sets, "without $\Bbb R$"* so that it Reduces to the traditional definition when desired? Has the same use in at least ...
34
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“Immediate” Applications of Differential Geometry

My professor asked us to find and make a list of things/facts from real life which have a differential geometry interpretation or justification. One example is this older question of mine. Another ...
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precise official definition of a cell complex and CW-complex

I would be very grateful If someone could state a precise definition (direct one and inductive one) of a cell complex and CW-complex, since my intuition is telling that some restriction is missing and ...
12
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1answer
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Intuition about pullbacks in differential geometry

I am struggling to understand the role of pullbacks after noticing that they are used when defining an integral of $k$-forms on a manifold. Let $F:M \to N$ be a map between differentiable manifolds. ...
11
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3answers
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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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Inverse of regular value is a submanifold, Milnor's proof

In Milnor's famous book "Topology from the Differential Viewpoint" he proves the following on page 11: If $f: M\to N$ is a smooth map between manifolds of dimension $m\geq n$ and if $y\in N$ is a ...
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Why abstract manifolds?

If we can use Whitney embedding to smoothly embed every manifold into Euclidean space, then why do we bother studying abstract manifolds, instead of their embeddings in $\mathbb{R}^n$? A vague ...
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Different definitions for submanifolds

I'm trying to better understand the concept of differentiable submanifold. However, it looks like many different definitions are adopted by various authors and so I'm trying to keep myself in sync by ...
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Open subsets in a manifold as submanifold of the same dimension?

An open set in an $n$-manifold is clearly a submanifold of the same dimension as its containing manifold (see open manifolds). Now, given an $n$-manifold $M$, is it true that a set, to be the ...
18
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Existence of submersions from spheres into spheres

I would like to know if there exist submersions $f\colon \mathbb{S}^4\to \mathbb{S}^2$ and $g\colon\mathbb{S}^6\to \mathbb{S}^2.$ It is simply a question of curiosity. Any suggestion or ideas are ...
8
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0answers
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Higher-order derivatives in manifolds

If $E, F$ are real finite dimensional vector spaces and $\mu\colon E \to F$, we can speak of a (total) derivative of $\mu$ in Fréchet sense: $D\mu$, if it exists, is the unique mapping from $E$ to $L(...
6
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Prove no existing a smooth function satisfying … related to Morse Theory

i) Show that there does not exist a smooth function $f:\mathbb{R} \rightarrow \mathbb{R}$, s.t. $f(x) \geq 0$, $\forall x \in \mathbb{R}$, $f$ has exactly two critical points, $x_1,x_2\in\mathbb{R}$ ...
12
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$f:\mathbb{S}^1\rightarrow\mathbb{S}^1$ odd $\Rightarrow$ $\mathrm{deg}(f)$ odd (Borsuk-Ulam theorem)

I'm having trouble understanding the proof of Borsuk-Ulam theorem ($n=2$) that we did in our class. The only problematic part is the last sentence in the proof of lemma 1. $\mathbb{S}^1\subseteq\...
11
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Problem 3-38 in Spivak´s Calculus on Manifolds

This is not homework. Problem 3-38 reads: Let $A_{n}$ be a closed set contained in $(n,n+1)$. Suppose that $f:\mathbb{R}\rightarrow \mathbb{R}$ satisfies $\int_{A_{n}}f=(-1)^{n}/n$ and $f(x)=0$ for $...