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

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17
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209 views

What closed 3-manifolds have fundamental group $\Bbb Z$?

For certain small groups, it is easy (and desirable) to classify closed (and orientable if necessary) 3-manifolds with that group as their fundamental group. (Essentially due to Waldhausen is that for ...
17
votes
2answers
422 views

explicit “exotic” charts

can someone provide explicit charts for non-standard differentiable structures on, for instance $\mathbb{R}^4$ (or some other manifold)?
16
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2answers
283 views

How equivalent are the homeomorphism and diffeomorphism groups of 3-manifolds?

Every topological 3-manifold carries a smooth structure, unique up to diffeomorphism. In addition, "up to homotopy", the maps between them are the same: every continuous map is homotopic to a smooth ...
15
votes
1answer
765 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 ...
14
votes
1answer
354 views

Is the torus the union of two connected, simply-connected open sets?

Is the torus the union of two connected, simply-connected open sets? A routine computation with the Mayer-Vietoris sequence shows that if so, then their intersection must have exactly three ...
13
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2answers
2k views

What is the importance of the Poincaré conjecture?

The Poincaré conjecture is listed as one of the Millennium Prize Problems and has received significant attention from the media a few years ago when Grigori Perelman presented a proof of this ...
13
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8answers
573 views

Why is the 3D case so rich?

The Banach--Tarski theorem applies only in the case of three or more dimensions. In 3D, there are five regular solids, two of them being not at all obvious, and the 4D case is also interesting; but ...
12
votes
3answers
273 views

What's true in $\mathbb{R}^4$, false in $\mathbb{R}^3$ and uninteresting in $\mathbb{R}^5$?

What are some interesting and easy-to-understand (for non-differential geometers) facts about subobjects of $\mathbb{R}^4$ that are not only false in $\mathbb{R}^3$, but also specific to the structure ...
11
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1answer
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. ...
10
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4answers
829 views

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 ...
9
votes
4answers
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 ...
9
votes
2answers
240 views

Surgery results in a cylinder

While reading a proof of a theorem about Reshetikhin Turaev topological quantum field theory, I encountered the following problem. Suppose we have several unlinked unknots $K_i$, $i=1, \dots, g$ in ...
9
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1answer
755 views

Understanding the Hopf fibration

I'm taking a class in manifolds, and the Hopf fibration recently came up. I'm trying to get a handle on it, so I'm going to try and explain what I think is going on, and hopefully math.stackexchange ...
8
votes
1answer
171 views

Is there a domain in $\mathbb{R}^3$ with finite non-trivial $\pi_1$ but $H_1=0$?

The exterior of the Alexander Horned Sphere has $H_1=0$ but $\pi_1\neq 0$, in fact, $\pi_1$ is infinite. (See Hatcher p.171-172). Is there an example of a domain (connected open set) in $\mathbb{R}^3$ ...
8
votes
1answer
720 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 ...
8
votes
2answers
212 views

In/out equivalent to left/right “chirality”

Apologies if this is off-topic, but we're having a problem over on English Language with this question, and I thought you guys might be able to help. Basically it's a matter of topology. We know the ...
8
votes
0answers
132 views

Prerequisites for studying Perelman's proof of the Geometrization Conjecture

I want to set a course toward understanding Perelman's proof of the Geometrization Conjecture. I realize this will be a lengthy undertaking, but hopefully only on the order of one to two years. I am ...
7
votes
1answer
350 views

Visualization of Lens Spaces

I am trying to visualize lens spaces geometrically. While I am aware of the fact that most manifolds which cannot be embedded in $\mathbb{R}^3$ are hard to visualize because of the obvious ...
7
votes
3answers
504 views

Putting Geometries on Knot Complements

I have two different, but related, questions about the type of geometry one can get on a knot complement. Quickly some notation: $K$ will be a non-trivial smooth knot - living in $S^3$ - and $M$ will ...
7
votes
1answer
342 views

How to Classify $2$-Plane Bundles over $S^2$?

I'm curious how one can classify the bundles over a given manifold. I recently read this paper on classifying $2$-sphere bundles over compact surfaces. A lot of the concepts went over my head since ...
7
votes
1answer
124 views

If $M$ is a nonorientable $3$-manifold, why is $H_1(M, \mathbb{Z})$ infinite? [duplicate]

Let $M$ be a compact connected $3$-manifold with boundary $\partial M$. If $M$ is nonorientable and $\partial M$ is empty, then how do I see that $H_1(M, \mathbb{Z})$ is infinite?
7
votes
1answer
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, $i$ ...
6
votes
2answers
394 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
108 views

Fundamental group of Antoine's necklace

Let $A \subset \mathbb{R}^3$ denote Antoine's necklace. It is well-known that $A$ is a Cantor space and that $\mathbb{R}^3 \backslash A$ is not simply connected. Futhermore, $\pi_1(\mathbb{R}^3 ...
6
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1answer
175 views

Exotic Manifolds from the inside

As we know, an exotic $\mathbb{R}^4$ is a manifold which is homeomorphic, but not diffeomorphic to the standard $(\mathbb{R}^4,id)$, and there are even very explicit descriptions of them (Kirby ...
6
votes
1answer
110 views

Can a trefoil knot be stretched to look like a triangle with three knots at the vertices?

Can a trefoil knot be stretched to look like a triangle with three knots at the vertices, like in the right side of the image below, or is that transformation impossible to happen? If possible, what ...
6
votes
2answers
594 views

Which mapping tori are Seifert manifolds?

According to Orlik's lecture notes on Seifert manifolds (and the Wikipedia page on Seifert fiber spaces), a mapping torus over a 2-torus is a Seifert manifold if and only if it is the mapping torus of ...
6
votes
1answer
112 views

Is $(\#^k \Bbb{RP}^2) \times I$ an $\mathbb{RP}^2$-irreducible 3-manifold?

Consider $S$ a surface homeomorphic to a connected sum of $n$ projective planes, $n \geq 2$. Can there be a two sided projective plane embedded in $[-\epsilon,\epsilon]\times S$?
6
votes
2answers
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 ...
6
votes
1answer
300 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 ...
6
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0answers
172 views

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 ...
5
votes
2answers
201 views

Homotopically trivial $2$-sphere on $3$-manifold

Let $S^2$ be an embedded sphere in a $3$-manifold $M^3$ such that $[S^2]$ is trivial in $\pi_2(M)$. Can we find an embedded disk $D^3$ in $M$ such that $\partial D^3=S^2$?
5
votes
1answer
47 views

Components of the space of immersions 2-manifold into $\mathbb R^3$

Let $M$ be a $2$-sphere with $g$ handles. Consider the space of maps $M\to \mathbb R^3$, which are immersions [i.e. smooth maps with nondegenerate differential in each point $x\in M$], with ...
5
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3answers
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
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 ...
5
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1answer
79 views

Why are there always pairwise intersections in a Heegaard splitting?

Let $M=A\cup B$ be a Heegaard splitting, such that $\{\alpha_i\}_{i=1}^g$ is a set of boundaries for meridian disks of $A$, and $\{\beta_i\}_{i=1}^g$ is a set of boundaries for meridian disks of $B$ ...
5
votes
1answer
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
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 ...
5
votes
1answer
217 views

Heegaard splitting and mapping class group

I would like to ask questions about the definition of the Heegaard splitting. The following are the facts I know. A Heegaard splitting says that any 3-manifold is built up from two ...
5
votes
0answers
135 views

$\operatorname{Spin}^c(n)$ 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 $\ker(\rho)$ ...
5
votes
0answers
166 views

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 ...
4
votes
2answers
96 views

Complement of a solid genus-2-handlebody in $S^3$

I'm not sure if this is a stupid question or not but is the complement of a solid genus-2-handlebody in $S^3$ also a solid genus-2-handlebody? Thanks!
4
votes
1answer
430 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
518 views

Relation between the braid group and the mapping class group of the plane

According to the following link, page 248, the braid group modulo its center is isomorphic to the mapping class group of the $N$-times punctured plane, i.e. $B_N/Z(B_N)\cong M_N(\mathcal(R)^2)$. Could ...
4
votes
2answers
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?
4
votes
2answers
372 views

High-Dimensional Topology vs. Low-Dimensional Topology: What are the hard questions in the former?

This is a somewhat vague/non-technical question. I've heard a lot about how the topology of manifolds (smooth or otherwise) is simpler in dimension at least 5, due to the applicability of surgery ...
4
votes
2answers
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-- ...
4
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1answer
81 views

Casson handles neighborhoods are representable by $D^2$-bundles over $S^2$.

On 250 page of Scorpan's book Wild world of 4-manifolds. there is a construction of an exotic $\mathbb{R}^4$. It starts from taking manifold $M = \mathbb{C}P^2 \# 9 \overline{\mathbb{C}P}^2$ and ...
4
votes
1answer
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 ...