# Questions tagged [general-topology]

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; etc. Please use the more specific tags, (algebraic-topology), (differential-topology), (metric-spaces), (functional-analysis) whenever appropriate.

37,711 questions
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### 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 ...
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### Does there exist a bijection of $\mathbb{R}^n$ with itself such that the forward map is connected but the inverse is not?

Let $(X,\tau), (Y,\sigma)$ be two topological spaces. We say that a map $f: \mathcal{P}(X)\to \mathcal{P}(Y)$ between their power sets is connected if for every $S\subset X$ connected, $f(S)\subset Y$ ...
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### 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### Why can't differentiability be generalized as nicely as continuity?

The question: Can we define differentiable functions between (some class of) sets, "without $\Bbb R$"* so that it Reduces to the traditional definition when desired? Has the same use in at least some ...
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### Any open subset of $\Bbb R$ is a at most 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 ...
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### Is there a homology theory that counts connected components of a space?

It is well-known that the generators of the zeroth singular homology group $H_0(X)$ of a space $X$ correspond to the path components of $X$. I have recently learned that for Čech homology the ...
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### 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 ...
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### What functions can be made continuous by “mixing up their domain”?

Definition. A function $f:\Bbb R\to\Bbb R$ will be called potentially continuous if there is a bijection $\phi:\Bbb R\to\Bbb R$ so that $f\circ \phi$ is continuous. So one could say a potentially ...
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### Intuition of the meaning of homology groups

I am studying homology groups and I am 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 ...
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### 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 ...
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### In $n>5$, topology = algebra

During the study of the surgery theory I faced following sentence: Surgery theory works best for $n > 5$, when "topology = algebra". I don't know what is the meaning of topology=algebra. Can ...
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### Let, $A\subset\mathbb{R}^2$. Show that $A$ can contain at most one point $p$ such that $A$ is isometric to $A \setminus \{p\}$.

A challenge problem from Sally's Fundamentals of Mathematical Analysis. Problem reads: Suppose $A$ is a subset of $\mathbb{R}^2$. Show that $A$ can contain at most one point $p$ such that $A$ is ...
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### Why did mathematicians introduce the concept of uniform continuity?

I have solved many problems regarding uniform continuity, but still I can't understand the following: Is there any practical application of this concept, or it is just a theoretical concept? Is there ...
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### 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 ...
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### What concept does an open set axiomatise?

In the context of metric (and in general first-countable) topologies, it's reasonably clear what a closed set is: a set $F$ is closed if and only if every convergent sequence of points in $F$ ...
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### Why Zariski topology?

Why in algebraic geometry we usually consider the Zariski topology on $\mathbb A^n_k$? Ultimately it seems a not very interesting topology, infact the open sets are very large and it doesn't satisfy ...
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### 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 ...
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### Continuous mapping on a compact metric space is uniformly continuous

I am struggling with this question: Prove or give a counterexample: If $f : X \to Y$ is a continuous mapping from a compact metric space $X$, then $f$ is uniformly continuous on $X$. Thanks for ...
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### Is it possible to determine if you were on a Möbius strip?

I understand that if you were to walk on the surface of a Möbius strip you would have the same perspective as if you walked on the outer surface of a cylinder. However, would it be possible for ...
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### 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) ...
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### A and B disjoint, A compact, and B closed implies there is positive distance between both sets

Claim: Let $X$ be a metric space. If $A,B\in X$ are disjoint, if A is compact, and if B is closed, then $\exists \delta>0: |\alpha-\beta|\geq\delta\;\;\;\forall\alpha\in A,\beta\in B$. Proof. ...
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### $X$ is Hausdorff if and only if the diagonal of $X\times X$ is closed

Let $X$ be a topological space. The diagonal of $X \times X$ is the subset $$D = \{(x,x)\in X\times X\mid x \in X\}.$$ Show that $X$ is Hausdorff if and only if $D$ is closed in $X \times X$. First,...
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### Unexpected use of topology in proofs

One day I was reading an article on the infinitude of prime numbers in the Proof Wiki. The article introduced a proof that used only topology to prove the infinitude of primes, and I found it very ...
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### Explain this mathematical meme (Geometers bird interrupting Topologists bird)

My knowledge of geometry is just a little bit above high school level and I know absolutely nothing about topology. So, what is the point of this meme? (Original unedited webcomic: “Juncrow” by False ...
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### Difference between complete and closed set

What is the difference between a complete metric space and a closed set? Can a set be closed but not complete?
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### 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 ...
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### Compact sets are closed?

I feel really ignorant in asking this question but I am really just don't understand how a compact set can be considered closed. By definition of a compact set it means that given an open cover we ...
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### Is there a name for this type of polygon?

Is there a name for a polygon in which you could place a light bulb that would light up all of its area? (for which there exists a point so that for all points inside it the line connecting those two ...
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### 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 ...
### 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 ...