Topology is a major area of
mathematicsMathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...
concerned with properties that are preserved under
continuousIn mathematics, a continuous function is a function for which, intuitively, "small" changes in the input result in "small" changes in the output. Otherwise, a function is said to be "discontinuous". A continuous function with a continuous inverse function is called "bicontinuous".Continuity of...
deformations of objects, such as deformations that involve stretching, but no tearing or gluing. It emerged through the development of concepts from
geometryGeometry arose as the field of knowledge dealing with spatial relationships. Geometry was one of the two fields of premodern mathematics, the other being the study of numbers ....
and
set theorySet theory is the branch of mathematics that studies sets, which are collections of objects. Although any type of object can be collected into a set, set theory is applied most often to objects that are relevant to mathematics...
, such as space, dimension, and transformation.
Ideas that are now classified as topological were expressed as early as 1736. Toward the end of the 19th century, a distinct discipline developed, which was referred to in Latin as the
geometria situs (“geometry of place”) or
analysis situs (GreekLatin for “picking apart of place”). This later acquired the modern name of topology. By the middle of the 20th century, topology had become an important area of study within mathematics.
The word
topology is used both for the mathematical discipline and for a family of sets with certain properties that are used to define a
topological spaceTopological spaces are mathematical structures that allow the formal definition of concepts such as convergence, connectedness, and continuity. They appear in virtually every branch of modern mathematics and are a central unifying notion...
, a basic object of topology. Of particular importance are
homeomorphismIn the mathematical field of topology, a homeomorphism or topological isomorphism or bicontinuous function is a continuous function between topological spaces that has a continuous inverse function. Homeomorphisms are the isomorphisms in the category of topological spaces—that is, they are...
s, which can be defined as
continuous functionIn mathematics, a continuous function is a function for which, intuitively, "small" changes in the input result in "small" changes in the output. Otherwise, a function is said to be "discontinuous". A continuous function with a continuous inverse function is called "bicontinuous".Continuity of...
s with a continuous
inverseIn mathematics, an inverse function is a function that undoes another function: If an input x into the function ƒ produces an output y, then putting y into the inverse function g produces the output x, and vice versa. i.e., ƒ=y, and g=x...
.
Topology includes many subfields. The most basic and traditional division within topology is
pointset topologyIn mathematics, general topology or pointset topology is the branch of topology which studies properties of topological spaces and structures defined on them...
, which establishes the foundational aspects of topology and investigates concepts inherent to topological spaces (basic examples include compactness and
connectednessIn mathematics, connectedness is used to refer to various properties meaning, in some sense, "all one piece". When a mathematical object has such a property, we say it is connected; otherwise it is disconnected...
);
algebraic topologyAlgebraic topology is a branch of mathematics which uses tools from abstract algebra to study topological spaces. The basic goal is to find algebraic invariants that classify topological spaces up to homeomorphism, though usually most classify up to homotopy equivalence.Although algebraic topology...
, which generally tries to measure degrees of connectivity using algebraic constructs such as homotopy groups and
homologyIn mathematics , homology is a certain general procedure to associate a sequence of abelian groups or modules with a given mathematical object such as a topological space or a group...
; and
geometric topologyIn mathematics, geometric topology is the study of manifolds and maps between them, particularly embeddings of one manifold into another. Topics :...
, which primarily studies
manifoldIn mathematics , a manifold is a topological space that on a small enough scale resembles the Euclidean space of a specific dimension, called the dimension of the manifold....
s and their embeddings (placements) in other manifolds. Some of the most active areas, such as low dimensional topology and
graph theoryIn mathematics and computer science, graph theory is the study of graphs, mathematical structures used to model pairwise relations between objects from a certain collection. A "graph" in this context refers to a collection of vertices or 'nodes' and a collection of edges that connect pairs of...
, do not fit neatly in this division.
Knot theoryIn topology, knot theory is the study of mathematical knots. While inspired by knots which appear in daily life in shoelaces and rope, a mathematician's knot differs in that the ends are joined together so that it cannot be undone. In precise mathematical language, a knot is an embedding of a...
studies
mathematical knotIn mathematics, a knot is an embedding of a circle in 3dimensional Euclidean space, R3, considered up to continuous deformations . A crucial difference between the standard mathematical and conventional notions of a knot is that mathematical knots are closed—there are no ends to tie or untie on a...
s.
See also:
topology glossaryThis is a glossary of some terms used in the branch of mathematics known as topology. Although there is no absolute distinction between different areas of topology, the focus here is on general topology...
for definitions of some of the terms used in topology and topological space for a more technical treatment of the subject.
History
Topology began with the investigation of certain questions in geometry.
Leonhard EulerLeonhard Euler was a pioneering Swiss mathematician and physicist. He made important discoveries in fields as diverse as infinitesimal calculus and graph theory. He also introduced much of the modern mathematical terminology and notation, particularly for mathematical analysis, such as the notion...
's 1736 paper on the
Seven Bridges of KönigsbergThe Seven Bridges of Königsberg is a historically notable problem in mathematics. Its negative resolution by Leonhard Euler in 1735 laid the foundations of graph theory and prefigured the idea of topology....
is regarded as one of the first academic treatises in modern topology.
The term "Topologie" was introduced in German in 1847 by
Johann Benedict ListingJohann Benedict Listing was a German mathematician.J. B. Listing was born in Frankfurt and died in Göttingen. He first introduced the term "topology", in a famous article published in 1847, although he had used the term in correspondence some years earlier...
in
Vorstudien zur Topologie, who had used the word for ten years in correspondence before its first appearance in print. "Topology," its English form, was first used in 1883 in Listing's obituary in the journal
NatureNature, first published on 4 November 1869, is ranked the world's most cited interdisciplinary scientific journal by the Science Edition of the 2010 Journal Citation Reports...
to distinguish "qualitative geometry from the ordinary geometry in which quantitative relations chiefly are treated". The term
topologist in the sense of a specialist in topology was used in 1905 in the magazine
SpectatorThe Spectator is a weekly British magazine first published on 6 July 1828. It is currently owned by David and Frederick Barclay, who also owns The Daily Telegraph. Its principal subject areas are politics and culture...
. However, none of these uses corresponds exactly to the modern definition of topology.
Modern topology depends strongly on the ideas of
set theorySet theory is the branch of mathematics that studies sets, which are collections of objects. Although any type of object can be collected into a set, set theory is applied most often to objects that are relevant to mathematics...
, developed by
Georg CantorGeorg Ferdinand Ludwig Philipp Cantor was a German mathematician, best known as the inventor of set theory, which has become a fundamental theory in mathematics. Cantor established the importance of onetoone correspondence between the members of two sets, defined infinite and wellordered sets,...
in the later part of the 19th century. Cantor, in addition to setting down the basic ideas of set theory, considered point sets in
Euclidean spaceIn mathematics, Euclidean space is the Euclidean plane and threedimensional space of Euclidean geometry, as well as the generalizations of these notions to higher dimensions...
, as part of his study of
Fourier seriesIn mathematics, a Fourier series decomposes periodic functions or periodic signals into the sum of a set of simple oscillating functions, namely sines and cosines...
.
Henri PoincaréJules Henri Poincaré was a French mathematician, theoretical physicist, engineer, and a philosopher of science...
published
Analysis Situs in 1895, introducing the concepts of
homotopyIn topology, two continuous functions from one topological space to another are called homotopic if one can be "continuously deformed" into the other, such a deformation being called a homotopy between the two functions...
and
homologyIn mathematics , homology is a certain general procedure to associate a sequence of abelian groups or modules with a given mathematical object such as a topological space or a group...
, which are now considered part of
algebraic topologyAlgebraic topology is a branch of mathematics which uses tools from abstract algebra to study topological spaces. The basic goal is to find algebraic invariants that classify topological spaces up to homeomorphism, though usually most classify up to homotopy equivalence.Although algebraic topology...
.
Maurice Fréchet, unifying the work on function spaces of Cantor,
VolterraVito Volterra was an Italian mathematician and physicist, known for his contributions to mathematical biology and integral equations....
,
ArzelàCesare Arzelà was an Italian mathematician who taught at the University of Bologna and is recognized for his contributions in the theory of functions, particularly for his characterization of sequences of continuous functions, generalizing the one given earlier by Giulio Ascoli in the famous...
,
HadamardJacques Salomon Hadamard FRS was a French mathematician who made major contributions in number theory, complex function theory, differential geometry and partial differential equations.Biography:...
,
AscoliGiulio Ascoli was an Italian mathematician. He was a student of the Scuola Normale di Pisa, where he graduated in 1868.In 1872 he became Professor of Algebra and Calculus of the Politecnico di Milano University...
, and others, introduced the
metric spaceIn mathematics, a metric space is a set where a notion of distance between elements of the set is defined.The metric space which most closely corresponds to our intuitive understanding of space is the 3dimensional Euclidean space...
in 1906. A metric space is now considered a special case of a general topological space. In 1914,
Felix HausdorffFelix Hausdorff was a Jewish German mathematician who is considered to be one of the founders of modern topology and who contributed significantly to set theory, descriptive set theory, measure theory, function theory, and functional analysis.Life:Hausdorff studied at the University of Leipzig,...
coined the term "topological space" and gave the definition for what is now called a
Hausdorff spaceIn topology and related branches of mathematics, a Hausdorff space, separated space or T2 space is a topological space in which distinct points have disjoint neighbourhoods. Of the many separation axioms that can be imposed on a topological space, the "Hausdorff condition" is the most frequently...
. In current usage, a topological space is a slight generalization of Hausdorff spaces, given in 1922 by
Kazimierz KuratowskiKazimierz Kuratowski was a Polish mathematician and logician. He was one of the leading representatives of the Warsaw School of Mathematics.Biography and studies:...
.
For further developments, see pointset topology and
algebraic topologyAlgebraic topology is a branch of mathematics which uses tools from abstract algebra to study topological spaces. The basic goal is to find algebraic invariants that classify topological spaces up to homeomorphism, though usually most classify up to homotopy equivalence.Although algebraic topology...
.
Elementary introduction
Topology, as a branch of mathematics, can be formally defined as "the study of qualitative properties of certain objects (called topological spaces) that are invariant under certain kind of transformations (called continuous maps), especially those properties that are invariant under a certain kind of equivalence (called
homeomorphismIn the mathematical field of topology, a homeomorphism or topological isomorphism or bicontinuous function is a continuous function between topological spaces that has a continuous inverse function. Homeomorphisms are the isomorphisms in the category of topological spaces—that is, they are...
)." To put it more simply, topology is the study of continuity and connectivity.
The term
topology is also used to refer to a structure imposed upon a set
X, a structure that essentially 'characterizes' the set
X as a
topological spaceTopological spaces are mathematical structures that allow the formal definition of concepts such as convergence, connectedness, and continuity. They appear in virtually every branch of modern mathematics and are a central unifying notion...
by taking proper care of properties such as
convergenceThe limit of a sequence is, intuitively, the unique number or point L such that the terms of the sequence become arbitrarily close to L for "large" values of n...
,
connectednessIn mathematics, connectedness is used to refer to various properties meaning, in some sense, "all one piece". When a mathematical object has such a property, we say it is connected; otherwise it is disconnected...
and continuity, upon transformation.
Topological spaces show up naturally in almost every branch of mathematics. This has made topology one of the great unifying ideas of mathematics.
The motivating insight behind topology is that some geometric problems depend not on the exact shape of the objects involved, but rather on the way they are put together. For example, the square and the circle have many properties in common: they are both one dimensional objects (from a topological point of view) and both separate the plane into two parts, the part inside and the part outside.
One of the first papers in topology was the demonstration, by
Leonhard EulerLeonhard Euler was a pioneering Swiss mathematician and physicist. He made important discoveries in fields as diverse as infinitesimal calculus and graph theory. He also introduced much of the modern mathematical terminology and notation, particularly for mathematical analysis, such as the notion...
, that it was impossible to find a route through the town of Königsberg (now
KaliningradKaliningrad is a seaport and the administrative center of Kaliningrad Oblast, the Russian exclave between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea...
) that would cross each of its seven bridges exactly once. This result did not depend on the lengths of the bridges, nor on their distance from one another, but only on connectivity properties: which bridges are connected to which islands or riverbanks. This problem, the
Seven Bridges of KönigsbergThe Seven Bridges of Königsberg is a historically notable problem in mathematics. Its negative resolution by Leonhard Euler in 1735 laid the foundations of graph theory and prefigured the idea of topology....
, is now a famous problem in introductory mathematics, and led to the branch of mathematics known as
graph theoryIn mathematics and computer science, graph theory is the study of graphs, mathematical structures used to model pairwise relations between objects from a certain collection. A "graph" in this context refers to a collection of vertices or 'nodes' and a collection of edges that connect pairs of...
.
Similarly, the
hairy ball theoremThe hairy ball theorem of algebraic topology states that there is no nonvanishing continuous tangent vector field on an evendimensional nsphere. An ordinary sphere is a 2sphere, so that this theorem will hold for an ordinary sphere...
of algebraic topology says that "one cannot comb the hair flat on a hairy ball without creating a
cowlickA cowlick is a section of hair that stands straight up or lies at an angle at odds with the style in which the rest of an individual's hair is worn. Cowlicks appear when the growth direction of the hair forms a spiral pattern. The term "cowlick" originates from the domestic bovine's habit of...
." This fact is immediately convincing to most people, even though they might not recognize the more formal statement of the theorem, that there is no nonvanishing continuous
tangent vector fieldIn vector calculus, a vector field is an assignmentof a vector to each point in a subset of Euclidean space. A vector field in the plane for instance can be visualized as an arrow, with a given magnitude and direction, attached to each point in the plane...
on the
sphereA sphere is a perfectly round geometrical object in threedimensional space, such as the shape of a round ball. Like a circle in two dimensions, a perfect sphere is completely symmetrical around its center, with all points on the surface lying the same distance r from the center point...
. As with the
Bridges of Königsberg, the result does not depend on the exact shape of the sphere; it applies to pear shapes and in fact any kind of smooth blob, as long as it has no holes.
To deal with these problems that do not rely on the exact shape of the objects, one must be clear about just what properties these problems
do rely on. From this need arises the notion of homeomorphism. The impossibility of crossing each bridge just once applies to any arrangement of bridges homeomorphic to those in Königsberg, and the hairy ball theorem applies to any space homeomorphic to a sphere.
Intuitively two spaces are homeomorphic if one can be deformed into the other without cutting or gluing. A traditional joke is that a topologist can't distinguish a coffee mug from a doughnut, since a sufficiently pliable doughnut could be reshaped to the form of a coffee cup by creating a dimple and progressively enlarging it, while shrinking the hole into a handle. A precise definition of homeomorphic, involving a continuous function with a continuous inverse, is necessarily more technical.
Homeomorphism can be considered the most basic
topological equivalence. Another is homotopy equivalence. This is harder to describe without getting technical, but the essential notion is that two objects are homotopy equivalent if they both result from "squishing" some larger object.
Equivalence classes of the English alphabet in uppercase sansserif font (Myriad): 
Homeomorphism 
Homotopy equivalence 


An introductory exercise is to classify the uppercase letters of the
English alphabetThe Latin alphabet, also called the Roman alphabet, is the most recognized alphabet used in the world today. It evolved from a western variety of the Greek alphabet called the Cumaean alphabet, which was adopted and modified by the Etruscans who ruled early Rome...
according to homeomorphism and homotopy equivalence. The result depends partially on the font used. The figures use a
sansserifIn typography, a sansserif, sans serif or san serif typeface is one that does not have the small projecting features called "serifs" at the end of strokes. The term comes from the French word sans, meaning "without"....
fontIn typography, a font is traditionally defined as a quantity of sorts composing a complete character set of a single size and style of a particular typeface...
named Myriad. Notice that homotopy equivalence is a rougher relationship than homeomorphism; a homotopy equivalence class can contain several of the homeomorphism classes. The simple case of homotopy equivalence described above can be used here to show two letters are homotopy equivalent, e.g. O fits inside P and the tail of the P can be squished to the "hole" part.
Thus, the homeomorphism classes are: one hole two tails, two holes no tail, no holes, one hole no tail, no holes three tails, a bar with four tails (the "bar" on the
K is almost too short to see), one hole one tail, and no holes four tails.
The homotopy classes are larger, because the tails can be squished down to a point. The homotopy classes are: one hole, two holes, and no holes.
To be sure we have classified the letters correctly, we not only need to show that two letters in the same class are equivalent, but that two letters in different classes are not equivalent. In the case of homeomorphism, this can be done by suitably selecting points and showing their removal disconnects the letters differently. For example, X and Y are not homeomorphic because removing the center point of the X leaves four pieces; whatever point in Y corresponds to this point, its removal can leave at most three pieces. The case of homotopy equivalence is harder and requires a more elaborate argument showing an algebraic invariant, such as the
fundamental groupIn mathematics, more specifically algebraic topology, the fundamental group is a group associated to any given pointed topological space that provides a way of determining when two paths, starting and ending at a fixed base point, can be continuously deformed into each other...
, is different on the supposedly differing classes.
Letter topology has some practical relevance in
stencilA stencil is a thin sheet of material, such as paper, plastic, or metal, with letters or a design cut from it, used to produce the letters or design on an underlying surface by applying pigment through the cutout holes in the material. The key advantage of a stencil is that it can be reused to...
typographyTypography is the art and technique of arranging type in order to make language visible. The arrangement of type involves the selection of typefaces, point size, line length, leading , adjusting the spaces between groups of letters and adjusting the space between pairs of letters...
. The font
BraggadocioBraggadocio is a geometrically constructed sansserif stencil typeface designed by W.A. Woolley in 1930 for the Monotype Corporation. The design was based on Futura Black....
, for instance, has stencils that are made of one connected piece of material.
Mathematical definition
Let
X be a set and let
τ be a family of subsets of
X. Then
τ is called a
topology on X if:
 Both the empty set and X are elements of τ
 Any union of elements of τ is an element of τ
 Any intersection of finitely many elements of τ is an element of τ
If
τ is a topology on
X, then the pair (
X,
τ) is called a
topological space. The notation
X_{τ} may be used to denote a set
X endowed with the particular topology
τ.
The members of
τ are called
open setThe concept of an open set is fundamental to many areas of mathematics, especially pointset topology and metric topology. Intuitively speaking, a set U is open if any point x in U can be "moved" a small amount in any direction and still be in the set U...
s in
X. A subset of
X is said to be
closedIn geometry, topology, and related branches of mathematics, a closed set is a set whose complement is an open set. In a topological space, a closed set can be defined as a set which contains all its limit points...
if its complement is in
τ (i.e., its complement is open). A subset of
X may be open, closed, both (
clopen setIn topology, a clopen set in a topological space is a set which is both open and closed. That this is possible for a set is not as counterintuitive as it might seem if the terms open and closed were thought of as antonyms; in fact they are not...
), or neither. The empty set and
X itself are always clopen.
A
functionIn mathematics, a function associates one quantity, the argument of the function, also known as the input, with another quantity, the value of the function, also known as the output. A function assigns exactly one output to each input. The argument and the value may be real numbers, but they can...
or map from one topological space to another is called
continuous if the inverse image of any open set is open. If the function maps the
real numberIn mathematics, a real number is a value that represents a quantity along a continuum, such as 5 , 4/3 , 8.6 , √2 and π...
s to the real numbers (both spaces with the Standard Topology), then this definition of continuous is equivalent to the definition of continuous in
calculusCalculus is a branch of mathematics focused on limits, functions, derivatives, integrals, and infinite series. This subject constitutes a major part of modern mathematics education. It has two major branches, differential calculus and integral calculus, which are related by the fundamental theorem...
. If a continuous function is
onetooneIn mathematics, an injective function is a function that preserves distinctness: it never maps distinct elements of its domain to the same element of its codomain. In other words, every element of the function's codomain is mapped to by at most one element of its domain...
and
ontoIn mathematics, a function f from a set X to a set Y is surjective , or a surjection, if every element y in Y has a corresponding element x in X so that f = y...
, and if the inverse of the function is also continuous, then the function is called a
homeomorphismIn the mathematical field of topology, a homeomorphism or topological isomorphism or bicontinuous function is a continuous function between topological spaces that has a continuous inverse function. Homeomorphisms are the isomorphisms in the category of topological spaces—that is, they are...
and the domain of the function is said to be homeomorphic to the range. Another way of saying this is that the function has a natural extension to the topology. If two spaces are homeomorphic, they have identical topological properties, and are considered topologically the same. The cube and the sphere are homeomorphic, as are the coffee cup and the doughnut. But the circle is not homeomorphic to the doughnut.
Some theorems in general topology
 Every closed interval
In mathematics, a interval is a set of real numbers with the property that any number that lies between two numbers in the set is also included in the set. For example, the set of all numbers satisfying is an interval which contains and , as well as all numbers between them...
in R of finite length is compactIn mathematics, specifically general topology and metric topology, a compact space is an abstract mathematical space whose topology has the compactness property, which has many important implications not valid in general spaces...
. More is true: In R^{n}, a set is compact if and only ifIn logic and related fields such as mathematics and philosophy, if and only if is a biconditional logical connective between statements....
it is closedIn geometry, topology, and related branches of mathematics, a closed set is a set whose complement is an open set. In a topological space, a closed set can be defined as a set which contains all its limit points...
and bounded. (See Heine–Borel theoremIn the topology of metric spaces the Heine–Borel theorem, named after Eduard Heine and Émile Borel, states:For a subset S of Euclidean space Rn, the following two statements are equivalent:*S is closed and bounded...
).
 Every continuous image of a compact space is compact.
 Tychonoff's theorem
In mathematics, Tychonoff's theorem states that the product of any collection of compact topological spaces is compact. The theorem is named after Andrey Nikolayevich Tychonoff, who proved it first in 1930 for powers of the closed unit interval and in 1935 stated the full theorem along with the...
: the (arbitrary) productIn topology and related areas of mathematics, a product space is the cartesian product of a family of topological spaces equipped with a natural topology called the product topology...
of compact spaces is compact.
 A compact subspace of a Hausdorff space is closed.
 Every continuous bijection
A bijection is a function giving an exact pairing of the elements of two sets. A bijection from the set X to the set Y has an inverse function from Y to X. If X and Y are finite sets, then the existence of a bijection means they have the same number of elements...
from a compact space to a Hausdorff space is necessarily a homeomorphismIn the mathematical field of topology, a homeomorphism or topological isomorphism or bicontinuous function is a continuous function between topological spaces that has a continuous inverse function. Homeomorphisms are the isomorphisms in the category of topological spaces—that is, they are...
.
 Every sequence
In mathematics, a sequence is an ordered list of objects . Like a set, it contains members , and the number of terms is called the length of the sequence. Unlike a set, order matters, and exactly the same elements can appear multiple times at different positions in the sequence...
of points in a compact metric space has a convergent subsequence.
 Every interval in R is connected
In topology and related branches of mathematics, a connected space is a topological space that cannot be represented as the union of two or more disjoint nonempty open subsets. Connectedness is one of the principal topological properties that is used to distinguish topological spaces...
.
 Every compact finitedimensional manifold
In mathematics , a manifold is a topological space that on a small enough scale resembles the Euclidean space of a specific dimension, called the dimension of the manifold....
can be embedded in some Euclidean space R^{n}.
 The continuous image of a connected
In mathematics, connectedness is used to refer to various properties meaning, in some sense, "all one piece". When a mathematical object has such a property, we say it is connected; otherwise it is disconnected...
space is connected.
 Every metric space
In mathematics, a metric space is a set where a notion of distance between elements of the set is defined.The metric space which most closely corresponds to our intuitive understanding of space is the 3dimensional Euclidean space...
is paracompact and HausdorffIn topology and related branches of mathematics, a Hausdorff space, separated space or T2 space is a topological space in which distinct points have disjoint neighbourhoods. Of the many separation axioms that can be imposed on a topological space, the "Hausdorff condition" is the most frequently...
, and thus normalIn topology and related branches of mathematics, a normal space is a topological space X that satisfies Axiom T4: every two disjoint closed sets of X have disjoint open neighborhoods. A normal Hausdorff space is also called a T4 space...
.
 The metrization theorems provide necessary and sufficient conditions for a topology to come from a metric.
 The Tietze extension theorem: In a normal space, every continuous realvalued function defined on a closed subspace can be extended to a continuous map defined on the whole space.
 Any open subspace of a Baire space
In mathematics, a Baire space is a topological space which, intuitively speaking, is very large and has "enough" points for certain limit processes. It is named in honor of RenéLouis Baire who introduced the concept. Motivation :...
is itself a Baire space.
 The Baire category theorem
The Baire category theorem is an important tool in general topology and functional analysis. The theorem has two forms, each of which gives sufficient conditions for a topological space to be a Baire space....
: If X is a complete metric space or a locally compact Hausdorff space, then the interior of every union of countably many nowhere dense sets is empty.
 On a paracompact Hausdorff space every open cover admits a partition of unity subordinate to the cover.
 Every pathconnected, locally pathconnected and semilocally simply connected
In mathematics, specifically algebraic topology, the phrase semilocally simply connected refers to a certain local connectedness condition that arises in the theory of covering spaces. Roughly speaking, a topological space X is semilocally simply connected if there is a lower bound on the sizes...
space has a universal cover.
General topology also has some surprising connections to other areas of mathematics. For example:
 In number theory, Fürstenberg's proof of the infinitude of primes
In number theory, Hillel Fürstenberg's proof of the infinitude of primes is a celebrated topological proof that the integers contain infinitely many prime numbers. When examined closely, the proof is less a statement about topology than a statement about certain properties of arithmetic sequences....
.
See also some counterintuitive theorems, e.g. the
Banach–TarskiThe Banach–Tarski paradox is a theorem in set theoretic geometry which states the following: Given a solid ball in 3dimensional space, there exists a decomposition of the ball into a finite number of nonoverlapping pieces , which can then be put back together in a different way to yield two...
one.
Some useful notions from algebraic topology
See also
list of algebraic topology topics.
 Homology
In mathematics , homology is a certain general procedure to associate a sequence of abelian groups or modules with a given mathematical object such as a topological space or a group...
and cohomologyIn mathematics, specifically in algebraic topology, cohomology is a general term for a sequence of abelian groups defined from a cochain complex. That is, cohomology is defined as the abstract study of cochains, cocycles, and coboundaries...
: Betti numberIn algebraic topology, a mathematical discipline, the Betti numbers can be used to distinguish topological spaces. Intuitively, the first Betti number of a space counts the maximum number of cuts that can be made without dividing the space into two pieces....
s, Euler characteristicIn mathematics, and more specifically in algebraic topology and polyhedral combinatorics, the Euler characteristic is a topological invariant, a number that describes a topological space's shape or structure regardless of the way it is bent...
, degree of a continuous mappingIn topology, the degree is a numerical invariant that describes a continuous mapping between two compact oriented manifolds of the same dimension. Intuitively, the degree represents the number of times that the domain manifold wraps around the range manifold under the mapping...
.
 Operations: cup product
In mathematics, specifically in algebraic topology, the cup product is a method of adjoining two cocycles of degree p and q to form a composite cocycle of degree p + q. This defines an associative graded commutative product operation in cohomology, turning the cohomology of a space X into a...
, Massey productIn algebraic topology, the Massey product is a cohomology operation of higher order introduced in , which generalizes the cup product.Massey triple product:...
 Intuitively attractive applications: Brouwer fixedpoint theorem, Hairy ball theorem
The hairy ball theorem of algebraic topology states that there is no nonvanishing continuous tangent vector field on an evendimensional nsphere. An ordinary sphere is a 2sphere, so that this theorem will hold for an ordinary sphere...
, Borsuk–Ulam theoremIn mathematics, the Borsuk–Ulam theorem, named after Stanisław Ulam and Karol Borsuk, states that every continuous function from an nsphere into Euclidean nspace maps some pair of antipodal points to the same point....
, Ham sandwich theoremIn measure theory, a branch of mathematics, the ham sandwich theorem, also called the Stone–Tukey theorem after Arthur H. Stone and John Tukey, states that given measurable "objects" in dimensional space, it is possible to divide all of them in half with a single dimensional hyperplane...
.
 Homotopy
In topology, two continuous functions from one topological space to another are called homotopic if one can be "continuously deformed" into the other, such a deformation being called a homotopy between the two functions...
groups (including the fundamental groupIn mathematics, more specifically algebraic topology, the fundamental group is a group associated to any given pointed topological space that provides a way of determining when two paths, starting and ending at a fixed base point, can be continuously deformed into each other...
).
 Chern class
In mathematics, in particular in algebraic topology and differential geometry, the Chern classes are characteristic classes associated to complex vector bundles.Chern classes were introduced by .Basic idea and motivation:...
es, Stiefel–Whitney classIn mathematics, in particular in algebraic topology and differential geometry, the Stiefel–Whitney class is an example of a \mathbb Z_2characteristic class associated to real vector bundles.General presentation:...
es, Pontryagin classIn mathematics, the Pontryagin classes are certain characteristic classes. The Pontryagin class lies in cohomology groups with degree a multiple of four...
es.
Generalizations
Occasionally, one needs to use the tools of topology but a "set of points" is not available. In
pointless topologyIn mathematics, pointless topology is an approach to topology that avoids mentioning points. The name 'pointless topology' is due to John von Neumann...
one considers instead the
latticeIn mathematics, a lattice is a partially ordered set in which any two elements have a unique supremum and an infimum . Lattices can also be characterized as algebraic structures satisfying certain axiomatic identities...
of open sets as the basic notion of the theory, while
Grothendieck topologiesIn category theory, a branch of mathematics, a Grothendieck topology is a structure on a category C which makes the objects of C act like the open sets of a topological space. A category together with a choice of Grothendieck topology is called a site.Grothendieck topologies axiomatize the notion...
are certain structures defined on arbitrary
categoriesCategory theory is an area of study in mathematics that examines in an abstract way the properties of particular mathematical concepts, by formalising them as collections of objects and arrows , where these collections satisfy certain basic conditions...
that allow the definition of
sheavesIn mathematics, a sheaf is a tool for systematically tracking locally defined data attached to the open sets of a topological space. The data can be restricted to smaller open sets, and the data assigned to an open set is equivalent to all collections of compatible data assigned to collections of...
on those categories, and with that the definition of quite general cohomology theories.
See also
Further reading
 Bourbaki
Nicolas Bourbaki is the collective pseudonym under which a group of 20thcentury mathematicians wrote a series of books presenting an exposition of modern advanced mathematics, beginning in 1935. With the goal of founding all of mathematics on set theory, the group strove for rigour and generality...
; Elements of Mathematics: General Topology, Addison–Wesley (1966).
 Boto von Querenburg (2006). Mengentheoretische Topologie. Heidelberg
Early history:Between 600,000 and 200,000 years ago, "Heidelberg Man" died at nearby Mauer. His jaw bone was discovered in 1907; with scientific dating, his remains were determined to be the earliest evidence of human life in Europe. In the 5th century BC, a Celtic fortress of refuge and place of...
: SpringerLehrbuch. ISBN 3540677909
 Richeson, David S. (2008) Euler's Gem: The Polyhedron Formula and the Birth of Topology. Princeton University Press
Further reading:* "". Artforum International, 2005.External links:* * * * *...
.
External links