In mathematics, differential topology is the field dealing with the topological properties and smooth properties of smooth manifolds. In this sense differential topology is distinct from the closely related field of differential geometry, which concerns the geometric properties of smooth manifolds, including notions of size, distance, and rigid shape. By comparison differential topology is concerned with coarser properties, such as the number of holes in a manifold, its homotopy type, or the structure of its diffeomorphism group. Because many of these coarser properties may be captured algebraically, differential topology has strong links to algebraic topology.The central goal of the field of differential topology is the classification of all smooth manifolds up to diffeomorphism. Since dimension is an invariant of smooth manifolds up to diffeomorphism type, this classification is often studied by classifying the (connected) manifolds in each dimension separately:
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