Contents

# Contents

## Idea

Hopf invariant one refers to homotopy classes of continuous functions between spheres of the form

$\phi \;\colon\; S^{2n-1} \longrightarrow S^n \,,$

hence to elements in the homotopy groups of spheres

$[\phi] \in \pi_{2n-1}(S^n)$

whose Hopf invariant is equal to one:

$h(\phi) = 1 \,.$

## Properties

### Relation to H-space structure and normed division algebras

The existence of an element of Hopf invariant one in $\pi_{2n-1}(S^n)$ is equivalent to the existence of an H-space structure on $S^{n-1}$.

A celebrated theorem due to (Adams 60, introducing and using the Adams spectral sequence) states that maps of Hopf invariant one correspond precisely to the the Hopf constructions on the four normed division algebras (see also at Hurwitz theorem): the real Hopf fibration, the complex Hopf fibration, the quaternionic Hopf fibration and the octonionic Hopf fibration. ## History

Stable homotopy theory emerged as a distinct branch of algebraic topology with Adams‘ introduction of his eponymous spectral sequence and his spectacular conceptual use of the notion of stable phenomena in his solution to the Hopf invariant one problem.

exceptional spinors and real normed division algebras

Lorentzian
spacetime
dimension
$\phantom{AA}$spin groupnormed division algebra$\,\,$ brane scan entry
$3 = 2+1$$Spin(2,1) \simeq SL(2,\mathbb{R})$$\phantom{A}$ $\mathbb{R}$ the real numberssuper 1-brane in 3d
$4 = 3+1$$Spin(3,1) \simeq SL(2, \mathbb{C})$$\phantom{A}$ $\mathbb{C}$ the complex numberssuper 2-brane in 4d
$6 = 5+1$$Spin(5,1) \simeq SL(2, \mathbb{H})$$\phantom{A}$ $\mathbb{H}$ the quaternionslittle string
$10 = 9+1$$Spin(9,1) {\simeq}$SL(2,O)$\phantom{A}$ $\mathbb{O}$ the octonionsheterotic/type II string

The original proof that the only maps of Hopf invariant one are the Hopf constructions on the four normed division algebras is due to

• Frank Adams, On the non-existence of elements of Hopf invariant one, Ann. Math., Vol. 72, No. 1, 72 (1): 20–104, (1960) (jstor:1970147)

Review includes

Further comments on the impact of this proof on the development of stable homotopy theory includes

Another proof that instead uses topological K-theory, Adams operations and the Atiyah-Hirzebruch spectral sequence was given in

This is reproduced for instance in

• Dale Husemöller, chapter 15 of Fibre Bundles, Graduate Texts in Mathematics 20, Springer New York (1966)

• Klaus Wirthmüller, section 12 of Vector bundles and K-theory, 2012 (pdf)

• Allen Hatcher, section 2.3 of Vector bundles and K-theory (web)

• Marcelo Aguilar, Samuel Gitler, Carlos Prieto, section 10.6 of Algebraic topology from a homotopical viewpoint, Springer (2002) (toc pdf)

Review of this K-theoretic approach includes:

• Ishan Banerjee, The Hopf invariant one problem, 2016 (pdf)

Review using the BP-Adams-Novikov spectral sequence includes