C3.1 Algebraic Topology - Material for the year 2020-2021

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2020-2021
Lecturer(s): 
Prof. Alexander Ritter
General Prerequisites: 

A3 Rings and Modules is essential, in particular a solid understanding of groups, rings, fields, modules, homomorphisms of modules, kernels and cokernels, and classification of finitely generated abelian groups.
A5 Topology is essential, in particular a solid understanding of topological spaces, connectedness, compactness, and classification of compact surfaces.
B3.5 Topology and Groups is helpful but not necessary, in particular the notion of homotopic maps, homotopy equivalences, and fundamental groups will be recalled during the course. There will be little mention of homotopy theory in this course as the focus will be instead on homology and cohomology.
It is recommended, but not required, that students take C2.2 Homological Algebra concurrently.

Course Term: 
Michaelmas
Course Lecture Information: 

16 lectures.

Course Weight: 
1.00 unit(s)
Course Level: 
M

Assessment type:

Course Overview: 

Homology theory is a subject that pervades much of modern mathematics. Its basic ideas are used in nearly every branch, pure and applied. In this course, the homology groups of topological spaces are studied. These powerful invariants have many attractive applications. For example we will prove that the dimension of a vector space is a topological invariant and the fact that 'a hairy ball cannot be combed'.

Learning Outcomes: 

At the end of the course, students are expected to understand the basic algebraic and geometric ideas that underpin homology and cohomology theory. These include the cup product and Poincaré Duality for manifolds. They should be able to choose between the different homology theories and to use calculational tools such as the Mayer-Vietoris sequence to compute the homology and cohomology of simple examples, including projective spaces, surfaces, certain simplicial spaces and cell complexes. At the end of the course, students should also have developed a sense of how the ideas of homology and cohomology may be applied to problems from other branches of mathematics.

Course Synopsis: 

Brief introduction to categories and functors. Applications of homology theory: Invariance of dimension, Brower fixed point theorem.

Chain complexes of free Abelian groups and their homology. Short exact sequences. of chain complexes, the induced long exact sequence in homology, and naturality. The snake lemma, the five lemma, splitting properties for short exact sequences.

Simplicial homology via Delta complexes.

Singular homology of topological spaces, and functoriality. Relative homology. Chain homotopies, homotopy equivalences. Homotopy invariance and excision (details of proofs not examinable). Retractions, deformation retractions, quotients.

Mayer-Vietoris Sequence. Wedge sums, cones, suspensions, connected sums.

Degree of a self-map of a sphere. Application: the hairy ball theorem.

Cell complexes and cellular homology. Equivalence of simplicial, cellular and singular homology.

Cochains and cohomology of spaces. Cup products.

Künneth Theorem (without proof). Euler characteristic. Ext and Tor groups via free resolutions. (Co)homology with different coefficients. The Universal Coefficient Theorem (proof not examinable).

Topological manifolds and orientability. The fundamental class of an orientable, closed manifold and the degree of a map between manifolds of the same dimension. Poincaré duality (proof not examinable). Manifolds with boundary and PoincarĂ©-Lefschetz duality (proof not examinable). Brief discussion of locally finite homology, and cohomology with compact supports. Cap product.

Alexander duality. Applications: knot complements, Jordan curve theorem.

Reading List: 
  1. A. Hatcher, Algebraic Topology (Cambridge University Press, 2001). Chapters 2 and 3.
  2. G. Bredon, Topology and Geometry (Springer, 1997). Chapters 4 and 5.
  3. J. Vick, Homology Theory, Graduate Texts in Mathematics 145 (Springer, 1973).
Further Reading: 
  1. W.S. Massey, A Basic Course in Algebraic Topology, (Springer, GTM 127, 1991).
  2. P. May, A Concise Course in Algebraic Topology (University of Chicago Press, 1999).
  3. J. Davis and P. Kirk, Lecture Notes in Algebraic Topology (AMS, 2001).