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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282 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
438 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
354 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
868 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
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 ...
14
votes
1answer
377 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
votes
8answers
585 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
317 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
votes
1answer
384 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
3k 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
990 views

Blowing Up a Circle To a Hemisphere?

Can you blow up a circle drawn in the Euclidean plane to a hemisphere in Euclidean 3-space ? I am not concerned about preserving surface area or angles. I am interested in preserving an arrangement ...
10
votes
4answers
900 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
2answers
246 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
votes
1answer
792 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 ...
9
votes
0answers
161 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
176 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
749 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
221 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
460 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
532 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
367 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
2answers
625 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
137 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
422 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
2answers
222 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 $\partial D^3=S^2$?
6
votes
1answer
120 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
votes
1answer
182 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
116 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
1answer
122 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
391 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
318 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
votes
0answers
175 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
3answers
93 views

One-sided submanifolds in Hempel's 3-Manifolds

Early on in Hempel's book 3-Manifolds, he discusses two-sided submanifolds: if $N$ is a manifold of dimension $n$, and $M$ is a submanifold of dimension $(n-1)$, then $M$ is two-sided if there is an ...
5
votes
1answer
69 views

Is Whitehead's manifold with a point removed homotopy equivalent to a sphere?

A contractible open subset of $\mathbb{R}^n$ need not be homeomorphic to $\mathbb{R}^n$. The Whitehead manifold is an open subset of $\mathbb{R}^3$ which is contractible but not homeomorphic to ...
5
votes
1answer
113 views

Characterization of open sets in $R^3$ homeomorphic to $R^3$.

Background: By the Riemann mapping theorem, for any non-empty, simply connected open subset $U \subset \mathbb{C}$, $U \neq \mathbb{C}$ there exists a biholomorphic map (in particular a ...
5
votes
1answer
54 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
votes
3answers
169 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
78 views

Existence of incompressible surface in a non-orientable manifold.

Let $M$ be a compact $P^2$ -irreducible 3-manifold. If $M$ is non-orientable, then there is a compact surface $F$ properly embedded in $M$ such that $F$ is two-sided, non-separating and ...
5
votes
2answers
60 views

End of 3-manifold

Let $M$ be an irreducible, orientable, open 3-manifold with finitely generated fundamental group, this gives us a Scott's Core $C\hookrightarrow M$ so that the inclusion is an homotopy equivalence and ...
5
votes
1answer
145 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
203 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
votes
1answer
85 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
194 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
451 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 $ ...
5
votes
1answer
225 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
232 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
149 views

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 $2-k$. ...
5
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0answers
142 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
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0answers
172 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 ...