Everything involving general topological spaces: generation and description of topologies; open and closed sets, neighborhoods; interior, closure; connectedness; compactness; separation axioms; bases; convergence: sequences, nets and filters; continuous functions; compactifications; function spaces; ...

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332
votes
6answers
65k 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 ...
119
votes
3answers
3k views

A Topology such that the continuous functions are exactly the polynomials

I was wondering which fields $K$ can be equipped with a topology such that a function $f:K \to K$ is continuous if and only if it is a polynomial function $f(x)=a_nx^n+\cdots+a_0$. Obviously, the ...
76
votes
3answers
8k views

Topology: The Board Game

Edit: I've drawn up some different rules, a map and some cards for playing an actual version of the game. They're available at my personal website with a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. ...
74
votes
18answers
7k views

How to distinguish walking on a sphere or on a torus?

Imagine that you're a flatlander walking in your world. How could you distinguish if the world is a sphere or a torus ? I can't see the difference from this point of view. If you are interested, this ...
68
votes
18answers
7k views

Your favourite application of the Baire Category Theorem

I think I remember reading somewhere that the Baire Category Theorem is supposedly quite powerful. Whether that is true or not, it's my favourite theorem (so far) and I'd love to see some applications ...
65
votes
2answers
3k views

Does this property characterize a space as Hausdorff?

As a result of this question, I've been thinking about the following condition on a topological space $Y$: For every topological space $X$, $E\subseteq X$, and continuous maps $f,g\colon X\to Y$, ...
64
votes
12answers
5k views

Why is compactness so important?

I've read many times that 'compactness' is such an extremely important and useful concept, though it's still not very apparent why. The only theorems I've seen concerning it are the Heine-Borel ...
57
votes
1answer
1k views

Does $X\times S^1\cong Y\times S^1$ imply that $X\times\mathbb R\cong Y\times\mathbb R$?

This question came up in a recent video series of lectures by Mike Freedman available through Max Planck Institut's website. He proves the "difficult" converse direction, that $X\times \mathbb R\cong ...
57
votes
5answers
2k views

Defining a manifold without reference to the reals

The standard definition I've seen for a manifold is basically that it's something that's locally the same as $\mathbb{R}^n$, without the metric structure normally associated with $\mathbb{R}^n$. ...
48
votes
4answers
4k views

Continuous bijection from $(0,1)$ to $[0,1]$

Does there exist a continuous bijection from $(0,1)$ to $[0,1]$? Of course the map should not be a proper map.
47
votes
4answers
4k views

Elementary proof that $\mathbb{R}^n$ is not homeomorphic to $\mathbb{R}^m$

It is very elementary to show that $\mathbb{R}$ isn't homeomorphic to $\mathbb{R}^m$ for $m>1$: subtract a point and use the fact that connectedness is a homeomorphism invariant. Along similar ...
46
votes
3answers
1k views

Trying to define $\mathbb{R}^{0.5}$ topologically [duplicate]

A few days ago, I was trying to generalize the defintion of Euclidean spaces by trying to define $\mathbb{R}^{0.5}$. Question: Is there a metric space $A$ such that $A\times A$ is homeomorphic to ...
44
votes
5answers
5k views

Is $[0,1]$ a countable disjoint union of closed sets?

Can you express $[0,1]$ as a countable disjoint union of closed sets, other than the trivial way of doing this?
44
votes
4answers
2k views

Is the box topology good for anything?

In point-set topology, one always learns about the box topology: the topology on an infinite product $X = \prod_{i \in I} X_i$ generated by sets of the form $U = \prod_{i \in I} U_i$, where $U_i ...
43
votes
15answers
4k views

Why can't you flatten a sphere?

It's a well-known fact that you can't flatten a sphere without tearing or deforming it. How can I explain why this is so to a 10 year old? As soon as an explanation starts using terms like "Gaussian ...
39
votes
7answers
2k views

Why is one “$\infty$” number enough for complex numbers?

Can anyone give me a rigorous explanation, why one needs only one number "$\infty$", when dealing with complex numbers, instead of 2 numbers $+\infty, \ -\infty$ like in the case, when dealing with ...
38
votes
5answers
1k views

Why is it that $\mathbb{Q}$ cannot be homeomorphic to _any_ complete metric space?

Why is it that $\mathbb{Q}$ cannot be homeomorphic to any complete metric space? Certainly $\mathbb{Q}$ is not a complete metric space. But completeness is not a topological invariant, so why is the ...
38
votes
7answers
3k views

What's the point of studying topological (as opposed to smooth, PL, or PDiff) manifolds?

Part of the reason I think algebraic topology has acquired something of a fearsome reputation is that the terrible properties of the topological category (e.g. the existence of space-filling curves) ...
37
votes
6answers
1k views

Why is compactness in logic called compactness?

In logic, a semantics is said to be compact iff if every finite subset of a set of sentences has a model, then so to does the entire set. Most logic texts either don't explain the terminology, or ...
35
votes
12answers
12k views

Real life applications of Topology

The other day I and my friend were having an argument. He was saying that there is no real life application of Topology at all whatsoever. I want to disprove him, so posting the question here What ...
34
votes
2answers
719 views

Topology and analytic functions

Is there a topology T on the set of complex numbers such that the class of T-continuous functions and the class of analytic functions coincide.
32
votes
3answers
3k views

Why is the Möbius strip not orientable?

I am trying to understand the notion of an orientable manifold. Let M be a smooth n-manifold. We say that M is orientable if and only if there exists an atlas $A = \{(U_{\alpha}, \phi_{\alpha})\}$ ...
31
votes
6answers
2k views

How many connected components does $\mathrm{GL}_n(\mathbb R)$ have?

I've noticed that $\mathrm{GL}_n(\mathbb R)$ is not a connected space, because if it were $\det(\mathrm{GL}_n(\mathbb R))$ (where $\det$ is the function ascribing to each $n\times n$ matrix its ...
31
votes
5answers
3k views

Soft Question - Intuition of the meaning of homology groups

I'm studying homology groups and I'm 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 possible ...
30
votes
7answers
981 views

Why are topological spaces interesting to study?

In introductory real analysis, I dealt only with $\mathbb{R}^n$. Then I saw that limits can be defined in more abstract spaces than $\mathbb{R}^n$, namely the metric spaces. This abstraction seemed ...
30
votes
2answers
646 views

Homeomorphic to the disk implies existence of fixed point common to all isometries?

A fellow grad student was working on this seemingly simple problem which appears to have us both stuck. (The problem naturally came up in his work so isn't from the literature as far as we know). Let ...
29
votes
3answers
456 views

Are there surfaces with more than two sides?

I'm watching a naive introduction to the Möbius band, the lecturer asks if it's possible to construct a one sided surface and then she says that there is one of these surfaces, namely the Möbius band. ...
28
votes
7answers
2k views

Quotient geometries known in popular culture, such as “flat torus = Asteroids video game”

In answering a question I mentioned the Asteroids video game as an example -- at one time, the canonical example -- of a locally flat geometry that is globally different from the Euclidean plane. It ...
28
votes
3answers
1k views

If every continuous $f:X\to X$ has $\text{Fix}(f)\subseteq X$ closed, must $X$ be Hausdorff?

Given a function $f:X\to X$, let $\text{Fix}(f)=\{x\in X\mid x=f(x)\}$. In a recent comment, I wondered whether $X$ is Hausdorff $\iff$ $\text{Fix}(f)\subseteq X$ is closed for every continuous ...
28
votes
2answers
580 views

Existence of non-constant continuous functions

Under what circumstances is there at least one non-constant continuous function from a topological space $X$ to a topological space $Y$? Assume that $X$ and $Y$ each have at least two points. If $X$ ...
27
votes
14answers
15k views

Best book for topology?

I am a graduate student of math right now but I was not able to get a topology subject in my undergrad... I just would like to know if you guys know the best one..
26
votes
5answers
448 views

Can $S^2$ be turned into a topological group?

I know that $S^1$ and $S^3$ can be turned into topological groups by considering complex multiplication and quaternion multiplication respectively, but I don't know how to prove or disprove that $S^2$ ...
26
votes
5answers
5k views

What's going on with “compact implies sequentially compact”?

I've seen both counterexamples and proofs to "compact implies sequentially compact", and I'm not sure what's going on. Apparently there are compact spaces which are not sequentially compact; quick ...
26
votes
3answers
682 views

Sanity check about Wikipedia definition of differentiable manifold as a locally ringed space

Most textbooks introduce differentiable manifolds via atlases and charts. This has the advantage of being concrete, but the disadvantage that the local coordinates are usually completely irrelevant- ...
26
votes
1answer
801 views

What is the cardinality of the set of all topologies on $\mathbb{R}$?

This was asked on Quora. I thought about it a little bit but didn't make much progress beyond some obvious upper and lower bounds. The answer probably depends on AC and perhaps also GCH or other ...
26
votes
6answers
897 views

How to develop intuition in topology?

Is there any efficient trick (besides doing exercises) to develop intuition in topology? The question is general but i would like to add my view of things. I started to teach myself topology through ...
26
votes
1answer
610 views

A Universal Property Defining Connected Sums

I once read (I believe in Ravi Vakil's notes on Algebraic Geometry) that the connected sum of a pair of surfaces can be defined in terms of a universal property. This gives a slick proof that the ...
25
votes
9answers
4k views

Why is empty set an open set?

I thought about it for a long time, but I can't come up some good ideas. I think that empty set has no elements,how to use the definition of an open set to prove the proposition. The definition of an ...
25
votes
2answers
2k views

Set of continuity points of a real function

I have a question about subsets $$ A \subseteq \mathbb R $$ for which there exists a function $$f : \mathbb R \to \mathbb R$$ such that the set of continuity points of $f$ is $A$. Can I characterize ...
25
votes
3answers
2k views

Constructing a Möbius strip using a square paper? Is it possible?

I understand that, from a topological perspective, it is irrelevant whether we choose the quotient of the square $[0,1]\times [0,1]$ (by identifying points $(0,t)$ and $(1,1-t)$) or the quotient of ...
25
votes
1answer
534 views

Is there a Hausdorff space $X$ separating points of any Hausdorff space?

There is a nice property of normal spaces, namely, closed disjoint subsets can be separated by continuous functions into $\mathbb R$. Then you ask yourself, what about Hausdorff spaces?, are all ...
25
votes
1answer
450 views

When is Stone-Čech compactification the same as one-point compactification?

For the space $\omega_1$ (with the order topology) we have $\beta\omega_1=\omega_1+1$ (or $\beta[0,\omega_1)=[0,\omega_1]$, if you prefer this notation), i.e., it is an example of a space for which ...
25
votes
1answer
611 views

Showing a filter on the Power set of $\mathbb{Z}$ is a one point Filter

Let $\mathcal{P}_0(X)$ the Power set of $X$ without the empty set and let $\dot{x}:=\{A\subseteq X: x \in A\}$ the one point filter generated by $x$. Furtermore let $$ \mathcal{A} := \{ f \in ...
24
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
24
votes
0answers
555 views

Differential forms on fuzzy manifolds

This post will take a bit to set up properly, but it is an easy read (and most likely easy to answer); in any event, please bear with me. Question In the usual setting of open subsets of ...
23
votes
3answers
941 views

Are the rationals minus a point homeomorphic to the rationals?

A while ago I was dreaming up point-set topology exam questions, and this one came to mind: Is $\mathbb Q\setminus \{0\}$ homeomorphic to $\mathbb Q$? (Where both sets have the subspace topology ...
23
votes
3answers
606 views

Why is the Hilbert Cube homogeneous?

The Hilbert Cube $H$ is defined to be $[0,1]^{\mathbb{N}}$, i.e., a countable product of unit intervals, topologized with the product topology. Now, I've read that the Hilbert Cube is homogeneous. ...
23
votes
1answer
616 views

Is the image of a nowhere dense closed subset of $[0,1]$ under a differentiable map still nowhere dense?

Let $f:[0,1]\to[0,1]$ be a continuous function such that its derivative $f'$ exists on $(0,1)$. My question is: Q1. If $E\subset[0,1]$ is a nowhere dense closed subset, is $f(E)$ also nowhere ...
23
votes
2answers
819 views

Does local convexity imply global convexity?

Question: Under what circumstances does local convexity imply global convexity? Motivation: Classically, a twice differentiable function $f:\mathbb{R} \rightarrow \mathbb{R}$ is convex if and only ...
22
votes
7answers
5k views

Any open subset of $\Bbb R$ is a countable union of disjoint open intervals. [Collecting Proofs]

This question has probably been asked. However, I am not interested in just getting the answer to it. Rather, I am interested in collecting as many different proofs of it which are as diverse as ...