Concept

# 4-manifold

Résumé
In mathematics, a 4-manifold is a 4-dimensional topological manifold. A smooth 4-manifold is a 4-manifold with a smooth structure. In dimension four, in marked contrast with lower dimensions, topological and smooth manifolds are quite different. There exist some topological 4-manifolds which admit no smooth structure, and even if there exists a smooth structure, it need not be unique (i.e. there are smooth 4-manifolds which are homeomorphic but not diffeomorphic). 4-manifolds are important in physics because in General Relativity, spacetime is modeled as a pseudo-Riemannian 4-manifold. The homotopy type of a simply connected compact 4-manifold only depends on the intersection form on the middle dimensional homology. A famous theorem of implies that the homeomorphism type of the manifold only depends on this intersection form, and on a invariant called the Kirby–Siebenmann invariant, and moreover that every combination of unimodular form and Kirby–Siebenmann invariant can arise, except that if the form is even, then the Kirby–Siebenmann invariant must be the signature/8 (mod 2). Examples: In the special case when the form is 0, this implies the 4-dimensional topological Poincaré conjecture. If the form is the E8 lattice, this gives a manifold called the E8 manifold, a manifold not homeomorphic to any simplicial complex. If the form is , there are two manifolds depending on the Kirby–Siebenmann invariant: one is 2-dimensional complex projective space, and the other is a fake projective space, with the same homotopy type but not homeomorphic (and with no smooth structure). When the rank of the form is greater than about 28, the number of positive definite unimodular forms starts to increase extremely rapidly with the rank, so there are huge numbers of corresponding simply connected topological 4-manifolds (most of which seem to be of almost no interest). Freedman's classification can be extended to some cases when the fundamental group is not too complicated; for example, when it is , there is a classification similar to the one above using Hermitian forms over the group ring of .
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