nLab
differential topology

Context

Topology

topology (point-set topology, point-free topology)

see also differential topology, algebraic topology, functional analysis and topological homotopy theory

Introduction

Basic concepts

Universal constructions

Extra stuff, structure, properties

Examples

Basic statements

Theorems

Analysis Theorems

topological homotopy theory

Differential geometry

synthetic differential geometry

Introductions

from point-set topology to differentiable manifolds

geometry of physics: coordinate systems, smooth spaces, manifolds, smooth homotopy types, supergeometry

Differentials

V-manifolds

smooth space

Tangency

The magic algebraic facts

Theorems

Axiomatics

cohesion

tangent cohesion

differential cohesion

graded differential cohesion

id id fermionic bosonic bosonic Rh rheonomic reduced infinitesimal infinitesimal & étale cohesive ʃ discrete discrete continuous * \array{ && id &\dashv& id \\ && \vee && \vee \\ &\stackrel{fermionic}{}& \rightrightarrows &\dashv& \rightsquigarrow & \stackrel{bosonic}{} \\ && \bot && \bot \\ &\stackrel{bosonic}{} & \rightsquigarrow &\dashv& Rh & \stackrel{rheonomic}{} \\ && \vee && \vee \\ &\stackrel{reduced}{} & \Re &\dashv& \Im & \stackrel{infinitesimal}{} \\ && \bot && \bot \\ &\stackrel{infinitesimal}{}& \Im &\dashv& \& & \stackrel{\text{étale}}{} \\ && \vee && \vee \\ &\stackrel{cohesive}{}& ʃ &\dashv& \flat & \stackrel{discrete}{} \\ && \bot && \bot \\ &\stackrel{discrete}{}& \flat &\dashv& \sharp & \stackrel{continuous}{} \\ && \vee && \vee \\ && \emptyset &\dashv& \ast }

Models

Lie theory, ∞-Lie theory

differential equations, variational calculus

Chern-Weil theory, ∞-Chern-Weil theory

Cartan geometry (super, higher)

Contents

Idea

Differential topology is the subject devoted to the study of topological properties of differentiable manifolds, smooth manifolds and related differential geometric spaces such as stratifolds, orbifolds and more generally differentiable stacks.

Diffrential topology is also concerned with the problem of finding out which topological (or PL) manifolds allow a differentiable structure and the degree of nonuniqueness of that structure if they do (e.g. exotic smooth structures). It is also concerned with concrete constructions of (co)homology classes (e.g. characteristic classes) for differentiable manifolds and of differential refinements of cohomology theories.

Examples

Many considerations, and classification problems, depend crucially on dimension, and the case of high-dimensional manifolds (the notion of ‘high’ depends on the problem) is often very different from the situation in each of the low dimensions; thus there are specialists’ subjects like 33-(dimensional) topology and 44-topology. There are restrictions on an underlying topology which is allowed for some sorts of additional structures on a differentiable manifold.

For example, only some even-dimensional differentiable manifolds allow for symplectic structure and only some odd-dimensional one allow for a contact structure; in these cases moreover special constructions of topological invariants like Floer homology and symplectic field theory exist.

This yields the relatively young subjects of symplectic and contact topologies, with the first significant results coming from Gromov. Any (Hausdorff paracompact finite-dimensional) differentiable manifold allows for riemannian structure however; therefore there is no special subject of ‘riemannian topology’.

References

Though some of the basic results, methods and conjectures of differential topology go back to Poincaré, Whitney, Morse and Pontrjagin, it became an independent field only in the late 1950s and early 1960s with the seminal works of Smale, Thom, Milnor and Hirsch. Soon after the initial effort on foundations, mainly in American school, a strong activity started in Soviet Union (Albert Schwarz, A. S. Mishchenko, S. Novikov, V. A. Rokhlin, M. Gromov…).

  • John Milnor, Differential topology, chapter 6 in T. L. Saaty (ed.) Lectures On Modern Mathematic II 1964 (web, pdf)

  • Morris Hirsch, Differential topology, Springer GTM 33, gBooks

  • T. Bröcker, K. Jänich, C. B. Thomas, M. J. Thomas, Introduction to differentiable topology, 1982 (translated from German 1973 edition; \exists also 1990 German 2nd edition)

  • R. Bott, L. W. Tu, Differential forms in algebraic topology, Graduate Texts in Math. 82, Springer 1982. xiv+331 pp.

Revised on June 26, 2017 13:05:23 by Urs Schreiber (88.77.226.246)