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25

In general, a twisted coefficient system on a manifold $M$ (also called a local system by more algero-geometrically minded people) is given by a representation of $\pi_1(M)$ (the holonomy representation, also called the monodromy representation by more algebrao-geometrically minded people). Conversely, any representation of $\pi_1(M)$ gives a twisted ...

17

I believe there's a very simple motivation for the cocycle condition: Suppose $f:X \to R$ is a function on a space $X$ with values in a ring $R$ (if you wish, $X$ is a manifold, and $R$ is $\mathbb{R}$ or $\mathbb{C}$, and the function $f$ is differentiable or even holomorphic). Suppose that $G$ is a group acting on $X$ (say on the left). Then for the ...

15

[At Mariano's suggestion, I'll copy my answer from MathOverflow.] Here is a completely elementary example which shows that group cohomology is not empty verbiage, but can solve a problem ("parametrization of rational circle") whose statement has nothing to do with cohomology. Suppose you somehow know that for a finite Galois extension $k\subset K$ with ...

13

Akhil, you're thinking of this the opposite of how I think group cohomology was discovered. The concept of group cohomology originally centered around the questions about the (co)homology of $K(\pi,1)$-spaces, by people like Hopf (he called them aspherical rather than $K(\pi,1)$ spaces, and Hopf preferred homology to cohomology at that point). I think the ...

12

There is indeed some nice intuition behind these definitions, and the good news is that not even all that deep. Remember two things: First, that this cohomology all comes by the "fixed by" functor $M\to M^G$, and second, that these crossed homomorphisms come from the definition of cochains, and more directly, the coboundary operator from $n$-chains to $n+1$...

11

Often elements of $H^1$ are used to classify objects of a certain kind. E.g. if $k$ is a field and $k^s$ its separable closure, and $G_k = Gal(k^s/k)$, then if $X$ is a variety over $k$, and $Aut(X)$ is the group of automorphisms of $X_{/k^s}$, then the set $H^1(G_k,Aut(X))$ classifies varieties over $k$ that become isomorphic to $X$ when both are regarded ...

10

Your last question has an easy answer : it is very desirable to learn algebraic topology! It's the most concrete setting for a cohomology theory, and it would be hard to appreciate much (for instance) sheaf cohomology without at least some understanding of the algebraic topology background. With that said, the following theorem of Thom gives what I ...

9

First of all, your question doesn't make sense if you do not specify what topology you want on your group. A group can be equipped with various topologies that yield non-isomorphic topological groups. There is, however, a nice topology that can be defined on Galois groups called the Krull topology. Let $E/F$ be a Galois extension and $\mathrm{Gal}(E/F)$ its ...

9

Here are my solutions from when I was studied under Ken Brown as an undergraduate: V.3.5: From the semi-direct product representation $S_3=\mathbb{Z}_3\rtimes \mathbb{Z}_2$ where $\mathbb{Z}_2$ acts on $\mathbb{Z}_3$ by conjugation, $H^*(S_3)=H^*(S_3)_{(2)}\oplus H^*(S_3)_{(3)}\cong H^*(S_3)_{(2)}\oplus H^*(\mathbb{Z}_3)^{\mathbb{Z}_2}$ by Theorem III.10.3, ...

7

Ken Brown's textbook Cohomology of Groups is clearly the first to start with, and the ultimate guide... you may find somewhere on the internet my solutions manual for that text (I studied under him for a while). The next step is Alejandro Adem's textbook Cohomology of Finite Groups (focuses on computations). Then Leonard Evens' textbook The Cohomology of ...

7

Yes, if $c(gh)=c(g)+g\cdot c(h)$ for all $g,h \in G$, then $|G|c(g)= \sum_{h \in G} c(g) = \sum_{h \in G} c(gh)-g \cdot c(h) = a - g \cdot a$ where $a = \sum_{h \in G} c(h)$.

7

My standard way to think about $H^1(G,A)$ is as functions $G \to A$ such that $f(gh)= g \cdot f(h) + f(g)$ ("cocycles"), modulo functions of the form $g \mapsto (g-1)\cdot a$ for some $a \in A$ ("coboundaries"). This is what you get by working with the bar resolution. In answer to your question about sections, it's group homomorphisms that you need. You ...

7

Result If $G$ is not perfect (i.e. if $G\neq[G,G]$) , then the $\mathbb Z[G]$-module $\mathbb Z$ is not flat. Example If $G\neq 0$ is commutative, then the $\mathbb Z[G]$-module $\mathbb Z$ is not flat Proof 1) If $I\subset A$ is an ideal of a ring and $A/I$ is $A$-flat, then $I/I^2=0$ Indeed, tensor the injection $0\to I\to A$ with $A/I$ and ...

7

The title and the body seem to be asking very different questions, so I'll answer them separately. Title question: Not quite. While it is true that every generalized cohomology theory is represented by a spectrum and conversely that every spectrum represents a generalized cohomology theory, maps between spectra are richer than maps between generalized ...

7

Here are some thoughts. If a finite group $G$ acts on $S^n$ freely, then it's automatically a covering space action as $S^n$ is Hausdorff. Thus, $\pi_1(S^n/G) \cong G$. Moreover, $\pi_i(S^n/G) \cong \pi_i(S^n) \cong 0$ for all $i < n$. $\pi_n(S^n/G) \cong \pi_n(S^n)$ which is infinite cyclic. Pick a map $S^n \to S^n/G$ representing the generator, and glue ...

6

Matt E's response is the canonical first answer. As someone (else) who works with nonabelian group (in particular, Galois) cohomology frequently, let me give a second answer. Certain interesting maps between commutative cohomology groups are defined via a non-commutative intermediary. The justification for this is that, though one does not in general have ...

6

If you look in the book by Cartan-Eilenberg on Homological Algebra (and surely many others, but each of us has a favorite!) you will find explicit projective resolutions for both free groups and for free abelian groups. From that one can immediately compute homology and cohomology. You can also use technology. For example, it is easy to show that the (co)...

6

Learning algebraic topology, at least to the level of singular homology and cohomology, and Poincare duality, is essential if you plan to use homological techniques in your work with any sort of serious understanding. It is not just that the simplicial techniques involved in singular homology and cohomology are important in themselves (although they ...

6

Let me give you three examples where nature picks your first complex: First: Let $G$ be a group, let $A$ be a $G$-module, and let $A\rtimes G$ be the direct product (as a set, this is $A\times G$, and it becomes a group with multiplication such that $(a,g)\cdot(b,h)=(a+g\cdot b,gh)$ for all $a$, $b\in A$ and all $g$, $h\in G$) Consider the projection map $p:... 6 Group cohomology was initially observed in nature: people noticed that the homology of certain spaces with trivial higher homotopy groups depends only on the fundamental group, and with considerable ingenuity managed to predict purely algebraically what that homology is from the fundamental group itself. In a sense, then, people found that$H^1$can be ... 6 This is not about groups, but Lie algebras. Please keep in mind that by trade I am a group theorist, which happened to venture in the field of graded (over the positive integers) Lie algebras, discovering that they do not look too different from (residually) nilpotent groups. Anyway, I was studying certain twisted loop algebras, trying too prove they were ... 6 We have$H^2(G,R^\times) \cong {\rm Hom}(M(G),R^\times) \oplus {\rm Ext}(G/G',R^\times)$, where$M(G)$is the Schur multiplier of$G$. If$R^\times$is divisible (which is true, for example, if$R$is algebraically closed), then${\rm Ext}(G/G',R^\times) = 0$, and all extensions arises from a homomorphism from$M(G)$to$R^\times$, and any homomorphism$G \...

6

Can't happen because of the universal coeff Theorem for Homology $0\to H_2(G,Z) \otimes U(1) \to H_2(G,U(1)) \to \mathrm{Tor}(H_1(G,Z),U(1)) \to0$. Since $G$ is perfect $H_1(G,Z)$ is zero, since $G$ is finite $H_2(G,Z)$ is finite, since $U(1)$ is a divisible group and $H_2(G,Z)$ is finite, $H_2(G,Z) \otimes U(1) = 0$. So $H_2(G,U(1)) = 0$.

6

That cohomology group of the Galois group is not normal cohomology but continuous cohomology with respect to the Krull topology on the Galois group. In particular, your approach does not have many chances. Now, the definition of both Krull topology and of continuous cohomology are made so that you can reduce everything to computing cohomology of finite ...

6

With a little more work your idea works fine to construct a non-null-homotopic map. This is a different idea than the one Amitesh Datta is suggesting in the comments. Pick a small ball in $T^2$, and collapse everything outside it. This gives a map $f: T^2 \to S^2$ which induces an isomorphism on second homology, and is therefore not null-homotopic. Compose ...

6

You have already given answers yourself. I only have a two comments, with a recent reference, which you might have already seen. If a finite group $G$ acts freely on a sphere then we know that all abelian subgroups of $G$ are cyclic, i.e., that $G$ has periodic cohomology, and that all elements of order $2$ are central. In particular, $G$ has at most one ...

5

Take some algebra $\Lambda$, and consider its category of finitely generated left-modules $_\Lambda \operatorname{mod}$. It is folklore that for modules $M,N$, the group $\operatorname{Ext}^1 (M,N)$ controls extensions of $N$ by $M$, i.e. modules obtained by gluing $M$ and $N$ in some way. So suppose we know all the simple modules $S_i$ and all the $\... 5 I don't know the$p$-version of this, but I can tell you how things work in the "non-$p$"-case. It should not be hard to tweak this into what you want. Write$\hat H^\bullet(G,\mathord-)$for Tate cohomology of a finite group$G$. For each abelian group$A$let$A^\wedge=\hom(A,\mathbb R/\mathbb Z)$be the abelian group of all homomorphisms of abelian ... 5 Although it is not obvious from the definition, in fact -- assuming that there exists at least one open subgroup of finite cohomological dimension, otherwise there is nothing to say -- the virtual cohomological dimension is always a fixed integer. In other words, if there exists a single open subgroup$H_0$of$G$such that$\operatorname{cd}(H_0) < \...

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