group cohomology, nonabelian group cohomology, Lie group cohomology
cohomology with constant coefficients / with a local system of coefficients
differential cohomology
The short exact sequence of abelian groups
induces a fiber sequence
and so, for any object $X$, a fiber sequence
of cocycle ∞-groupoid (with respect to any ambient (∞,1)-topos $\mathbf{H}$, such as Top $\simeq$ ∞Grpd), where $\beta_2$ is the Bockstein morphism asociated with the multiplication by 2.
The image via $\beta_2$ of the $n$-th Stiefel-Whitney map $w_n\in \mathbf{H}(X,\mathbf{B}^n\mathbb{Z}/2\mathbb{Z})$ in $\mathbf{H}(X,\mathbf{B}^{n+1}\mathbb{Z})$ is called the $(n+1)$st integral Stiefel-Whithey map and is denoted by $W_{n+1}$.
One usually uses the same symbol to denote the image of this characteristic map in cohomology (on connected components ) of $W_{n+1}$ in $H^{n+1}(X;\mathbb{Z})=\pi_0\mathbf{H}(X,\mathbf{B}^{n+1}\mathbb{Z})$, and calls this the $(n+1)$-th integral Stiefel-Whitney class.
The third integral Stiefel-Whitney class $W_3(T X)$ of the tangent bundle of an oriented $n$-dimensional manifold $X$ vanishes if and only if the second Stiefel-Whitney class $w_2(T X)$ is in the image of the reduction mod 2 morphism
Since $H^2(X;\mathbb{Z})$ classifies isomorphism classes of $U(1)$-principal bundles over $X$ and $W_3(T X)$ is the obstruction to the existence of a spin^c structure on $X$, we see that $X$ has a $spin^c$ structure if and only if there exists a principal $U(1)$-bundle on $X$ “killing” the second Stiefel-Whitney class of $X$.
In particular, when $w_2(T X)$ is killed by the trivial $U(1)$-bundle, i.e., when $w_2(T X)=0$, then $X$ has a spin structure.
The vanishing of the third integral SW class, hence spin^c-structure is the orientation condition in complex K-theory $KU$ over oriented manifolds. In the context of string theory this is also known as the Freed-Witten anomaly cancellation condition.
Analogously, the vanishing of the seventh integral SW class is essentially the condition for orientation in second integral Morava K-theory.
In the context of string theory this is also known as the Diaconescu-Moore-Witten anomaly cancellation condition.