Portal:Topology
Topology
In mathematics, topology (from the Greek τόπος, place, and λόγος, study) is concerned with the properties of space that are preserved under continuous deformations, such as stretching, twisting, crumpling and bending, but not tearing or gluing. This can be studied by considering a collection of subsets, called open sets, that satisfy certain properties, turning the given set into what is known as a topological space. Important topological properties include connectedness and compactness.
Topology developed as a field of study out of geometry and set theory, through analysis of concepts such as space, dimension, and transformation. Such ideas go back to Gottfried Leibniz, who in the 17th century envisioned the geometria situs (Greek-Latin for "geometry of place") and analysis situs (Greek-Latin for "picking apart of place"). Leonhard Euler's Seven Bridges of Königsberg Problem and Polyhedron Formula are arguably the field's first theorems. The term topology was introduced by Johann Benedict Listing in the 19th century, although it was not until the first decades of the 20th century that the idea of a topological space was developed. By the middle of the 20th century, topology had become a major branch of mathematics.
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In mathematics, a metric space is a set where a notion of distance (called a metric) between elements of the set is defined.
The metric space which most closely corresponds to our intuitive understanding of space is the 3-dimensional Euclidean space. In fact, the notion of "metric" is a generalization of the Euclidean metric arising from the four long known properties of the Euclidean distance. The Euclidean metric defines the distance between two points as the length of the straight line connecting them.
The geometric properties of the space depends on the metric chosen, and by using a different metric we can construct interesting non-Euclidean geometries such as those used in the theory of general relativity.
A metric space also induces topological properties like open and closed sets which leads to the study of even more abstract topological spaces.
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It is often suggested that a topologist cannot tell the difference between a coffee cup and a doughnut. This is because these objects when thought of as topological spaces are homeomorphic. The above picture depicts a continuous deformation of a coffee cup into a doughnut such that at each stage the object is homeomorphic to the original.
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Did you know?
- ...that it is possible to turn a sphere inside out without tears or creases? (The sphere is allowed to pass through itself).
- ...that the Klein bottle gives a two-fold covering space of itself?
- ...that outstanding mathematician Grigori Perelman was offered a Fields Medal in 2006, in part for his proof of the Poincaré conjecture, which he declined?
- ...that you cannot knot strings in 4-dimensions? You can, however, knot 2-dimensional surfaces like spheres.
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Topics in Topology
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