Questions tagged [manifolds]

For questions on manifolds of dimension $n$, a topological space that near each point resembles $n$-dimensional Euclidean space.

In mathematics, a manifold of dimension $n$ is a topological space that near each point resembles $n$-dimensional Euclidean space. More precisely, each point of an $n$-dimensional manifold has a neighbourhood that is homeomorphic to the Euclidean space of dimension $n$. Lines and circles, but not figure eights, are one-dimensional manifolds. Two-dimensional manifolds are also called surfaces. Examples include the plane, the sphere, and the torus, which can all be realized in three dimensions, but also the Klein bottle and real projective plane which cannot.

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What's new in higher dimensions?

This is a very speculative/soft question; please keep this in mind when reading it. Here "higher" means "greater than 3". What I am wondering about is what new geometrical phenomena are there in higher dimensions. When I say new I mean phenomena…
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Defining a manifold without reference to the reals

The standard definition I've seen for a manifold is basically that it's something that's locally the same as $\mathbb{R}^n$, without the metric structure normally associated with $\mathbb{R}^n$. Aesthetically, this seems kind of ugly to me. The real…
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Under what conditions the quotient space of a manifold is a manifold?

There are many operations we can do with topological spaces that when we apply to topological manifolds gives us back topological manifolds. The disjoint union and the product are examples of that. Another common operation is to take the quotient by…
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Which Algebraic Properties Distinguish Lie Groups from Abstract Groups?

This question is motivated by a previous one: Conditions for a smooth manifold to admit the structure of a Lie group, and wants to be a sort of "converse". Here I am taking an abstract group $G$ and looking for necessary conditions for it to admit…
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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) force us to work very hard to prove the main…
Qiaochu Yuan
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Properly discontinuous action: equivalent definitions

Let us define a properly discontinuous action of a group $G$ on a topological space $X$ as an action such that every $x \in X$ has a neighborhood $U$ such that $gU \cap U \neq \emptyset$ implies $g = e$. I would like to prove that this property is…
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$C^{k}$-manifolds: how and why?

First of all, I have a specific question. Suppose $M$ is an $m$-dimensional $C^k$-manifold, for $1 \leq k < \infty$. Is the tangent space to a point defined as the space of $C^k$ derivations on the germs of $C^k$ functions near that point? If so, is…
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Why are smooth manifolds defined to be paracompact?

The way I understand things, roughly speaking, the importance of smooth manifolds is that they form the category of topological spaces on which we can do calculus. The definition of smooth manifolds requires that they be paracompact. I've looked all…
Daniel Moskovich
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What is the algebraic structure of functions with fixed points?

So I just noticed that the set of functions with a fixed point $$f(x_0)=x_0,$$ are closed under composition $$(f\circ g)(x):=g(f(x)),$$ and with $e(x)=x$, the inverible functions even seem to form a (non-commutative) group. Then if one chooses…
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Is every embedded submanifold globally a level set?

It's a well-known theorem (Corollary 8.10 in Lee Smooth) that given a smooth map of manifolds $\phi:M\rightarrow N$ and a regular value $p\in N$ of $\phi$, the level set $\phi^{-1}(p)\subset M$ is a closed embedded submanifold. Is the converse…
Zev Chonoles
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Is Zorn's lemma required to prove the existence of a maximal atlas on a manifold?

In the definition of smooth manifolds, complex manifolds, and similar constructions, one starts by defining a property on neighborhoods in the space, specifying how they relate on overlapping neighborhoods. An atlas is a set of such neighborhoods…
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Origins of Differential Geometry and the Notion of Manifold

The title can potentially lend itself to a very broad discussion, so I'll try to narrow this post down to a few specific questions. I've been studying differential geometry and manifold theory a couple of years now. Over this time the notion of a…
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Does every bijection of $\mathbb{Z}^2$ extend to a homeomorphism of $\mathbb{R}^2$?

Given a bijection $f\colon \mathbb{Z}^2 \to \mathbb{Z}^2$, does there always exist a homeomorphism $h\colon\mathbb{R}^2\to\mathbb{R}^2$ that agrees with $f$ on $\mathbb{Z}^2$? I don't see any immediate obstruction, but there are certain bijections…
Jim Belk
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The "Easiest" non-smoothable manifold

In 1960, Kervaire found the first example of a PL-manifold which does not admit a smooth structure. Since then, I understand that there are many examples of non-smoothable manifolds that can be built. My question is: Which is the "easiest"…
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Is $M=\{(x,|x|): x \in (-1, 1)\}$ not a differentiable manifold?

Let $M=\{(x,|x|): x \in (-1, 1)\}$. Then there is an atlas with only one coordinate chart $(M, (x, |x|) \mapsto x)$ for $M$. We don't need any coordinate transformation maps to worry about differentiablity. So I thought $M$ is a differentiable…
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