nLab Gauss-Bonnet theorem



\infty-Chern-Weil theory

Differential cohomology

Index theory



The Chern-Gauss-Bonnet theorem gives a formula that computes the Euler characteristic of an even-dimensional smooth manifold as the integration of a curvature characteristic form of the Levi-Civita connection on its tangent bundle.

For surfaces the theorem simplifies and in this simpler version is the older Gauss-Bonnet theorem .


For surfaces


For smooth manifolds


Let XX be a compact smooth manifold of even dimension dimX=2kdim X = 2k. Write χ(X)\chi(X) for its Euler characteristic.

For \nabla any Levi-Civita connection on its tangent bundle, write F F_\nabla for its curvature 2-form, valued in the orthogonal Lie algebra 𝔰𝔬(2k)\mathfrak{so}(2k) and Pf(F )Pf(F_\nabla) for its Pfaffian 2k2k-form.


χ(X)=(12π) k XPf(F ). \chi(X) = \left( \frac{-1}{2 \pi} \right)^{k} \int_X Pf(F_\nabla) \,.

For orbifolds

There is a generalization for XX an orbifold due to (Satake).


Named after Carl Friedrich Gauss.

The Chern-Gauss-Bonnet theorem goes back to

  • Shiing-shen Chern, A Simple Intrinsic Proof of the Gauss-Bonnet Formula for Closed Riemannian Manifolds , Annals, 45 (1944), 747-752.

A classical textbook reference is chapter X of volume II of

Discussion is for instance in

  • Denis Bell, The Gauss-Bonnet theorem for vector bundles (pdf)

Expositions include

The generalization to orbifolds is considered in

  • Ichiro Satake, The Gauss-Bonnet Theorem for V-manifolds J. Math. Soc. Japan Volume 9, Number 4 (1957), 464-492. (ProjectEclid)

Generalization to orbifolds:

  • Christopher Seaton, Two Gauss–Bonnet and Poincaré–Hopf theorems for orbifolds with boundary, Differential Geometry and its Applications Volume 26, Issue 1, February 2008, Pages 42-51 (doi:10.1016/j.difgeo.2007.11.002)

For an approach via 0|2-dimensional supersymmetric Euclidean field theory?, see

  • Daniel Berwick-Evans, The Chern-Gauss-Bonnet Theorem via supersymmetric Euclidean field theories, Communications in Mathematical Physics, Volume 335 (2015), (arXiv:1310.5383).

Last revised on June 3, 2020 at 20:38:38. See the history of this page for a list of all contributions to it.