Low-dimensional topology generally refers to the study of 3 or 4 dimensional topological manifolds and knot theory.

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Set of generators of the commutator subgroup of a surface group

Good morning, I am having a hard time trying to describe the commutator subgroup of a surface group. Namely, if $S$ is a compact orientable surface and $G$ its fundamental subgroup, let's recall that ...
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153 views

The image of homomorphism of fundamental group of closed surface

$\phi: \pi_1(S)\to \pi_1(S)$ is a homomorphism of fundamental group of closed orientable surface $S$ of genus $\geq 2$. If $\phi$ is not an epimorphism, can we find a non-surjective self map $f: S\to ...
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80 views

What do we mean by $CP^2$ with reverse orientation?

$CP^2$ and $\bar{CP^2}$ are not diffeomorphic since they have non-isomorphic intersection forms. so why do we call the latter $CP^2$ with reverse orientation? it seems like we are not just reversing a ...
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144 views

Length of a Coastline

When B. Mandelbrot's typical example of measuring the length of a coastline is referenced, they mention how at every scale the length increases. In pure mathematics, I can imagine this quite well-- ...
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120 views

Intuition on the Loop Theorem

Probably the simplest statement of the Loop Theorem in 3-manifolds is as follows: Let $M$ be a 3-manifold and let $D$ be a 2-disk. If there is a map $$(D, \partial D) \rightarrow (M, \partial M)$$ ...
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71 views

intersection form

I have problem understanding the proof of this theorem on page 23 of Kirby's Topology of 4-manifolds: Two closed oriented 4-manifolds are homotopy equivalent iff they have isomorphic intersection ...
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111 views

Recommended books on knot invariants

I've been reading the books "An introduction to knot theory" by Lickorish and "Knots, Links, Braids and 3-Manifolds" by Prosolov and Sossinsky, and while both seem to me as good books, sometimes I'd ...
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75 views

Thin position of knots

Can anyone explain something in Gabai's foliations and topology of 3-manifolds III. On page 492 where he proved the existence of an essential surface, I do not understand his diagram for the ...
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181 views

Classification of orientable non-closed surfaces

How does the classification of closed (compact, boundaryless) surfaces imply the classification of all orientable not-necessarily-compact surfaces with boundary? It seems to be that they are all ...
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163 views

Seifert manifolds and Fuchsian group

A Fuchsian group is a discrete subgroup of $PSL(2, \mathbb{R})$. Let $M$ be a Seifert manifold (maybe with boundary) and $t \in \pi_1(M)$ the class of a regular Seifert fiber. Hempel claims in his ...
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141 views

Showing every knot has a regular projection using differential topology

Can we use differential topology to prove that every smooth knot has a regular projection? Here is some background: Let $\gamma : S^1 \rightarrow \mathbb{R}^3$ be a smooth unit-speed imbedding. For ...
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380 views

Uniqueness of Preferred Framing of a Solid Torus in $S^3$

One way to state my question tersely is: For a homeomorphism $f : S^1 \times \mathbb{D}^2 \rightarrow S^1 \times \mathbb{D}^2$, does $f|_{S^1 \times S^1}$ determine the isotopy class of $f$? This is ...
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146 views

Intersection form on manifolds with boundary

It is a "basic fact" that the intersection form of a closed oriented 4k-dimensional manifold is unimodular. (Could anyone point me to a reference to a proof of this fact?) What can be said about the ...
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164 views

when is the region bounded by a Jordan curve “skinny”?

How can I formalize and prove the following intuition?: Picture a very skinny rectangle, one with base length 1 and sides length $\epsilon$. Or imagine a very flattened ellipse. The interiors of ...
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90 views

Density of continuous knots in the plane transversal to some circles

This is an exercise from the book "Knots and Links" by Rolfsen (exercise 6 in section 2C) Let $\kappa : S^1 \rightarrow \mathbb{R}^2-(0,0)$ be a continuous imbedding. Let $M := \{ x \in ...
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316 views

Annulus Theorem

I'm trying to read Rolfsen's "Knots and Links" and I'm a little discouraged that I can't do one of the first and seemingly more important exercises. The question is Use the Schoenflies theorem ...
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73 views

How to make a $C^1$ knot into a $C^\infty$ knot

Suppose I have a $C^1$ imbedding $f: S^1 \rightarrow S^3$. From the point of view of knot theory, what's the "best" way to get a $C^\infty$ curve that "looks like" or is "equivalent to" $f$? For ...
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65 views

History of ' low-dimensional geometry '

I want to have a brief history about the low-dimensional manifolds and geometric structures on manifolds specially on low-dimensional manifolds .where I can read about thus ?
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417 views

3-manifolds fibering over the circle and mapping tori

If $S$ is a closed connected surface and $\varphi \in \mathrm{Diff}(M)$, then we can build the mapping torus $M_\varphi = \dfrac{S \times [0,1]}{(x,0)\sim (\varphi(x),1)}$. Then we have that $ ...
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254 views

Representation of (co)homology classes of $3$-manifolds by embedded surfaces

Let $M$ be a closed oriented $3$-manifold. Theorems in algebraic topology allow us to identify $$H_2(M) \ \cong \ H^1(M) \ \cong \ \langle M,S^1\rangle$$ where (co)homology is meant with integer ...
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80 views

Classification of Bieberbach groups

Does anybody know if there exists a list of the four dimensional Bieberbach groups presented by generators and relations on the web?. I know there exists the book Crystallographic Groups of ...
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148 views

intersection form of $CP^2$

I am trying to understand why the intersection form of $CP^2$ is <1>. First we introduce {[x:y:z], x=0} as a generator of second homology and then we say that it has one intersection with {[x:y:z], ...
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393 views

How does Thurston's geometrisation conjecture imply Poincaré's conjecture?

I ran into the geometrisation conjecture a few days ago, and I started wondering how to prove Poincaré's conjecture. Let $M$ be a compact, simply connected, $3$-manifold. Clearly it is irreducible ...
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50 views

Homotopy topology question

Let $f$ be a map from the real projective plane to the torus. Show that $f$ must be homotopic to a constant map. This is a qual problem. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.
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216 views

Cancelling 3-handles in Kirby diagrams

Recently been trying to understand the proofs of Gompf and Akbulut that certain 4-manifolds are $S^4$ (these 2 papers: Gompfs paper in Topology Vol. 30 Issue. 1, Akbulut). In which they use a clever 2 ...
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199 views

How is PL knot theory related to smooth knot theory?

I really want to like knot theory but the PL condition seems sort of ugly. I was hoping someone could give me a justification for secretly thinking about smooth knots as I read through a book like ...
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762 views

A simply-connected closed surface is a sphere

From the Classification Theorem for closed (i.e. compact and boundaryless) surfaces, it follows that $S^2$ is the only closed surface with trivial $\pi _1$. That's easy because the fundamental group ...
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136 views

Trivial eigenvalues

Many nonlinear manifold learning methods used for dimensional reduction (isomap, diffusion maps, local preserving projections, etc) solve the symmetric eigenvalue problem and then use the eigenvectors ...
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1answer
59 views

Compact orientable surfaces embeddings

I wonder if we can embed a compact orientable surface of genus $g$ into another of genus $g'$, if $g < g'$. I already know that this is false if $g>g'$, because of the first homology groups. Any ...
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299 views

Isotopy and homeomorphism

Let $X$ and $Y$ be topological spaces. Suppose we have an isotopy between maps $f, g: X\to Y$. The question is that is there a homeomorphism $h: Y\to Y$ such that $h\circ f =g$? I am especially ...
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176 views

Homology class calculation

Let $SO(3)$ be the $3\times 3$ orthogonal group. Define a map $i\colon SO(3)\to SO(3)\times S^2$ by $A\mapsto (A,A^{-1} e_1)$, where $e_1$ is the unit normal vector $(1,0,0)\in S^2$. Then, $i$ ...
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Problem from Hempel — surfaces in Lens spaces

This isn't a homework problem, just working through Hempel's 3-Manifolds for my own benefit. One exercise is to show that the lens space $L(2k,q)$ contains a surface of Euler characteristic $2-k$. ...
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$\operatorname{Spin}^c(n)$ is a Lie group?

Assume that $n\geq 3$. (This implies $\pi_1(\operatorname{SO}(n))=\mathbb{Z}/2$.) Let $\rho\colon \operatorname{Spin}(n)\to \operatorname{SO}(n)$ be the 2-fold universal cover. Identify $\ker(\rho)$ ...
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Symmetric product of genus 2-surface

Let $\Sigma$ be the genus 2-surface. Denote $\operatorname{Sym}^2(\Sigma)=\Sigma\times \Sigma/\mathbb{Z}/2$, where $\mathbb{Z}/2$ acts on $\Sigma\times \Sigma$ by $(x,y)\mapsto (y,x)$. In the very ...
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103 views

Characteristic cohomology class of 4-manifold with boundary

I have a question about Characteristic cohomology class of 4-manifolds. $X^4$ denotes the compact 4-manifold with boundary. I'm mainly concerned with $\partial X$ is nonempty. If $X^4$ is closed, we ...
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163 views

Finding the rank of subgroups of free groups?

How do you find the rank of a subgroup(of finite index) of a free group? I was thinking of looking at the fundamental group of a graph.
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2k views

Representation of $S^{3}$ as the union of two solid tori

Well, I'm trying to prove that you can express the 3-dimensional sphere $S^{3}$ as the union of two solid tori. I tried first use that a solid tori is homeomorphic to $S^{1}$$\times$$D^{2}$ and use ...
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157 views

Prime decomposition of 3-manifolds

Let $H_g$ be a three dimensional handlebody bounded by a genus $g$ surface. Let $M_g$ be a manifold obtained by gluing two copies of $H_g$ via an orientation reversing homeomorphism of the surface of ...
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Embedding compact (boundaryless?) n-manifolds in n-dimensional real space

I know the embedding theorems that allow you to embed $n$-manifolds into $\mathbb{R}^k$, provided $k$ is chosen large enough. Here I'm interested in the possibility of taking $k=n$ in the case of ...
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1answer
146 views

Lift of a homeomorphism $f$ between two (hyperbolic) surfaces $X,Y$

Let $X,Y$ be two hyperbolic Riemann surfaces (i.e. they have universal cover the upper half plane $\mathbb{H}$). Let $\pi_X:\mathbb{H}\to X, \pi_Y:\mathbb{H}\to Y $ be the corresponding covering maps. ...
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1answer
70 views

Why can we consider only torus switch rather than arbitrary Dehn filling in Lickorish theorem?

I understand that any orientable $3$-manifold can be obtained by doing Dehn surgery on $S^3$ along a set of circles sitting in it; but why can we further assume the slop to be $0$, i.e. we can obtain ...
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96 views

Which manifolds have a circle as their boundary?

The boundary of a disk or of a Möbius band is a circle. Which other manifolds share that property?
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719 views

For an $n$-dimensional object, how many types of holes are possible?

Update 2012-06-06: At some point I'll attempt to answer my own question by using a dual-fluid model that places the dimensionality and connectivity of "solids" and "holes" on an equal footing. With ...
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368 views

Can the n-string sphere braid group embed in to the (n+1)-string sphere braid group?

This question has been cross posted on MathOverflow with some very interesting answers and discussion. I'm currently writing a project on the braid groups and their analogues on closed surfaces. ...
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159 views

What's isotopy of framings?

I am reading R.E.Gompf and A.I. Stipsicz, 4-Manifolds and Kirby Calculus.At pp.100-101,the authors say "isotopy classes of framings."I don't know how to determine isotopy to framings.Please tell me ...
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429 views

How does handle attachment work in Morse Theory

I am reading R.E.Gompf and A.I. Stipsicz, 4-Manifolds and Kirby Calculus. I can't understand the 2nd-paragraph of p.101, where they explain framings on the attaching sphere. In particular I cannot ...
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293 views

Heegaard splitting of a 3-manifold with boundary

A Heegaard splitting of a closed orientable 3-manifold $M$ is $M=H \cup H'$, where $H$ and $H'$ are handlebodies. Is there any similar concept for orientable 3-manifolds with boundaries?
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180 views

What knot groups are Abelian?

The knot group (the fundamental group of the complement of a knot) of the unknot is $\mathbb{Z}$ and the Hopf link is $\mathbb{Z}^2$, so those are knots (links) with Abelian knot group but are there ...
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Heegaard Splitting of Brieskorn homology 3-spheres

For pairwise coprime integers $(p,q,r)$, we define a Brieskorn homology 3-spheres by $\Sigma(p,q,r)=\{(z_1,z_2,z_3)\in\mathbb{C}^3 | z_1^p+z_2^q+z_3^r=0, |z_1|^2+|z_2|^2+|z_3|^2=1\}$. I want to know ...
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281 views

The teardrop and the spindle are bad orbifolds

I should prove that the teardop $S^2(p)$ (the orbifold with underlying surface $S^2$ and a single cone point of order $p>1$) and the spindle $S^2(p,q)$ (the orbifold with underlying surface $S^2$ and ...