0708-1300/Class notes for Tuesday, January 15

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Class Notes

The notes below are by the students and for the students. Hopefully they are useful, but they come with no guarantee of any kind.

First Hour

We begin by reformulating our previous lemma into a more general form:

Lemma 1

Let be a covering map. Then every family of paths such that has a unique lift such that



Claim 1: is well defined, hence

Proof of Claim 1

We construct the homotopy H between two such gamma's which, schematically, is a square with along the bottom, along the top and along the side the parameter Y where the homotopy is just horizontal lines between and

Then, the lemma implies the existence of a homotopy which is schematically a square with along the bottom, along the top, x=0 on the left and side and the right hand side taking values in

Proof of Lemma 1

Recall the proof for the version of the lemma when we were dealing with a single path, not a family. We now just need to extend this proof to the case of having a family of paths. We know that for each we can get a

We need to show that in fact the result is continuous. As continuity is a local property, we simply need to prove this in a neighborhood about .

Now by a "good" open set in B, we mean that the preimage under p CAN be written as a product.

Hence, we choose a neighborhood about the first interval in extending from (see proof of one path case for explanation) and this gets mapped to a "good" open set in B. As it is the image of an interval, it is compact in an open set, so can put a small neighborhood about the interval such that the image of the neighborhood is in the "good" open set in B.

Then, duplicating the proof of the earlier version of the lemma, this establishes continuity in the neighborhood.

Applications of

1) We get again the proof of non existence of a retract

Indeed, assume we DID have such a retract. We would have the following commuting diagram.

Applying the functor would yield the diagram

But clearly this does not exist, as the only map from is the trivial one.

Recall the non existence of such retracts implies Brouwer's Theorem

2) Fundamental Theorem of Algebra

if is a polynomial with degree greater than zero then such that


Suppose not, i.e., there exists a polynomial p that has no roots. dividing by the coefficient of the highest order term, lower order terms.

Define a homotopy of paths by first setting

Now the homotopy starts with a base of q on the point 0. During the first half of the homotopy we grow the size of the loop on which q is acting. At the halfway point, the loop is so large such that the first term in the polynomial dominates the lower order terms. Then in the second half of the homotopy, the lower order terms are shut off. More precisely we consider the polynomial (lower order terms) and let tend from 1 to 0 in the second half of the homotopy.

Hence, at the end of the homotopy we are left with on a large loop. This is the generator we had previously, and is not the identity. Hence, we have a constant homotopic to something non trivial and this establishes the contradiction.

3) Boruk-Ulam

If is continuous then such that


1) is not a subset of (cannot be embedded) as f is not 1:1

2) If , with closed then at least one contains a pair of antipodes.


This is NOT true with 4 sections. For instance consider a triangular based pyramid inscribed inside a sphere with each face a different colour. Imagine a light bulb at the center of the sphere so that on the sphere we get 4 sections with 4 different colours from each side of the pyramid. Clearly none of them contains a pair of antipodes, yet are closed with a union of the whole sphere.

Second Hour

Proof of Corollary:

Consider by (dist to , dist to )

If f(p) = f(-p) then, for both possible cases of f(p) being zero or positive, we get that p and -p are in the same .


1) is even if

2) is odd if


1) If is even then ind is even

2) If is odd then ind is odd

Proof of Borsuk-Ulam:

Assume has no p with f(p)=f(-p)

Define by

is odd. Therefore, is non zero.

But is homotopic to zero, a contradiction (the homotopy is a series of circles of decreasing radius where a point on the equator is fixed and its antipodal point is moved in an arc towards it)

Proof of part 1 of lemma:

Suppose is even

We can make a commuting diagram where is the same as going from first via and then from via

We now consider this diagram under the functor

We get

which commutes with along the bottom

which is even.

(Note, by we mean the identity)

Unfortunately, there is no simple adaption of this proof to deal with the odd case and so we introduce some more machinery first.


A topological group is a topological space G with a group structure such that all group operations are continuous


1) (with rotation giving the group structure)

2) SO(3) (See a previous lecture for more info)

If G is a topological group there are two "products" we can define on :

1) with being simply concatenation

2) where


These two are the same and, in fact, are commutative. I will not attempt to describe the homotopy schematic here.

We return to the proof of the odd case of the lemma:

Assume is odd. Then is even so . Therefore, is odd.

Note: The addition above is done in which is just



If are homotopic then

Consider a loop in X. Consider the images of this in Y under f and g. They look like two loops with the same base point and the homotopy H collapses them down to the same loop.

Then, is homotopic to using as the homotopy.


1) is an equivalence relation.

2) It is an ideal in the category of topological spaces. That is, and for h's such that these make sense.


X and Y are "homotopy equivalent" if they are isomorphic in {Topological Spaces} / {homotopy of maps}

I.e., so that and for and


1) is homotopy equivalent to a point via f which takes to a point and g is the zero map

2) An annulus is homotopy equivalent to . Indeed, consider the map f which collapses the annulus to the circle in its middle, and g is just the identity.

3) Likewise for the figure "thick A" which is a subset of the plane in the shape of an A with everything being thick. There is a circle around the hole in the A. The map f just takes A to this circle and g is the identity.

4) The mobius band is also equivalent to a circle where f just collapses to the boundary circle.

This last example gives us some idea of the limitation, or "lack of subtlety" to our invariants given that we would all agree there is something fundamentally different between the mobius band, the annulus and the circle, homotopy equivalence is not sensitive to this difference.


If X and Y are homotopically equivalent then


Consider and forming a commuting diagram and lets consider its image under

Then we get and ) as a commuting diagram.

We know that is homotopic to the identity, and thus we also get homotopic to the identity