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Fun Group

Fun Group

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A Rough Guide to the Fundamental Group
Elisha Peterson
November 6, 2003
Contents
1 Getting Oriented
2
2 The Fundamental Group
2
2.1 Homotopies. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
2.2 The Fundamental Group. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
3 Covering Spaces
3
3.1 CoveringMaps. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
3.2 DeckTransformations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
4 The Classi\ufb01cation of Surfaces
4
4.1 The Seifert-Van Kampen Theorem. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
4.2 Surfaces. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
5 Going Further
4
5.1 Higher Homotopy Groups. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
6 The Road Ahead
5
1
1 Getting Oriented

The fundamental group is a tool used to study topological spaces; its most important prop- erty istopological invariance, meaning that it is always the same for homeomorphic spaces. What this means is that it can distinguish between non-homeomorphic spaces.

The easiest way to think of the fundamental group is as the set of loops embedded in a space, or as the set of closed paths a creature in the space may traverse. There is a natural equivalence relation between these paths given byhomotopy: two paths are equivalent if they can be \u2018smoothly deformed\u2019 into each other. Surprisingly, with this equivalence relation one can give the very large set of paths the structure of a group.

This group tells a lot about the structure of a topological space. For every space, there is a space with trivial fundamental group, called theuniversal cover which can be completely wrapped around it. The universal cover is intricately related to the fundamental group. We will see that the spaces it can \u2018wrap around\u2019 are in a 1:1 correspondence with normal subgroups of the fundamental group.

The \ufb01nal section is on the Seifert-Van Kampen Theorem, a calculational tool allowing us to calculate the fundamental groups of more complicated spaces. In particular, it will lead us to the classi\ufb01cation of surfaces.

2 The Fundamental Group
2.1 Homotopies
Homotopy:a family of maps parametrized by the unit interval, i.e.,F :X\u00d7 I\u2192 Y ,
orFi :X\u2192 Y .
Then,F0(X) andF1(X) arehomotopic maps, and we writeF0\ue000 F1. Thehomotopy
class[f ] off is the set of maps homotopic tof . Two spaces are homotopy equivalentif
there exist mapsf :X\u2192 Y andg :X\u2192 Y withg\u25e6 f\ue000 1X andf\u25e6 g\ue000 1Y , and we write
X\ue000 Y. A space iscontractible if it is homotopy equivalent to a 1-point space.
Deformation Retract:A\u2282 Xfor which there is an F: X\u00d7 I\u2192 Xwith F0= 1X ,
F1(X)\u2282 Aand F1|A= 1A. Ais astrong deformation retract if Ft|A= 1Afor all t.
In either case,A\ue000 X.
Relative Homotopy:a homotopyF :X\u00d7 I\u2192 Y withFt|A = 1A. We writeF0\ue000
F1rel A. If Fand Gare (relative) homotopies with F1= G0we can concatenate
Fand Gto obtain the (relative) homotopy F\u2217 G.
An important class of homotopies are those relX01 =X\u00d7 \u2202I. Using the fact that
F: X\u00d7 I\u2192 Yis\ue000 rel X01to a reparametrization F(x, \u03c6(t)), we have:
1.C\u2217 F\ue000 F\u2217 C\ue000 F relX01 for a constant mapC;
2. everyF has an inverseF\u22121 withF\u2217 F\u22121\ue000 C relX01;
3. ifF1 ,G1\ue000 F2 ,G2 thenF1\u2217 G1\ue000 F2\u2217 G2 relX01.
In terms of homotopy classes, we have (1) [e]\u2217 [f ] = [f ]\u2217 [e] = [f ], (2) [f ]\u2217 [f\u22121] = [e], and
(3) [f ]\u2217 [g] = [fg] is well-de\ufb01ned.

For a mapping cylinderMf ,r :Mf\u2192 Y is a strong deformation retract, so we can replacef :X\u2192 Y with inclusionX \ue000\u2192 Mf (up to homotopy). Moreover, the homotopy type ofMf (orCf ) depends only on the homotopy class off .

If, as well,F (z\u03b1 ,t) =z\u03b10\u2200z\u03b1\u2208 Z, we say that the homotopykeepsZ \ufb01xed, and we write
F: \u03c3\ue000 \u03c4rel Z. In the case that Y= I, we say that Fis apath-homotopy and that \u03c3and
\u03c4arepath-homotopic. A map with F(0, t) = x0\u2200t\u2208 Iand F(1, t) = x1\u2200t\u2208 Iis said tokeep
endpoints \ufb01xed, and written by\u03c3\ue000 \u03c4 rel (0, 1).
Given a spaceX, the spaceE is said to be acovering space ofX if there is a map
p: X\u2192 Ewhich is continuous, and a local homeomorphism.
2
2.2 The Fundamental Group
Fundamental Group:the homotopy group\u03c01(X,{x0}), the homotopy classes of
closed paths (loops) from the base point.

By considering a change of base point, it is clear that\u03c01(X,{x0} depends only on the path component ofx0. Since\u03c01(X\u00d7 Y,{(x0 ,y0)} =\u03c01(X,{x0})\u00d7\u03c01(Y,{y0}), we can assume the space is path connected and omit the base point.

Simply connected:an arcwise-connected space with trivial fundamental group. Ho-

motopy equivalent spaces have the same fundamental group. Thus, contractible spaces, which are homotopy equivalent to a point, are simply connected. Actually, any loopS1\u2192 X which is homotopically trivial extends to a mapS1 \ue000\u2192 D2\u2192 X.

3 Covering Spaces
3.1 Covering Maps
Covering Map:a mapp :X\u2192 Y (whereX andY are arcwise-connected, locally

arcwise-connected, Hausdor\ufb00 spaces), for which each pointy\u2208 Y has a neighbor- hoodU with inverse imagep\u22121(U ) consisting of disjoint setsU\u03b1 each homeomorphic withU byp|U\u03b1 . The number of points in the inverse image of a point is constant, and called thenumber of sheets of the covering.

The simplest example of a covering space isR\u2192S1 witht\ue001\u2192 e2\u03c0it (an in\ufb01nite sheeted covering). Similarly, the mapS2\u2192RP2 from the sphere to the projective plane is a double covering.

Lifting Problem:an important question for covering spaces: when does a map
f: W\u2192 Ylift to a map g: W\u2192 Xwith f= g\u25e6 p? Thepath-lifting property
says that a pathf :I\u2192 Y can be uniquely lifted to a pathg :I\u2192 X, and the
homotopy-lifting theoremsays that a homotopyF :W\u00d7 I\u2192 Y with partial lift
f: W\u00d7{0} \u2192 Xcan be lifted uniquely to a homotopy G: W\u00d7 I\u2192 X. In general,
a unique lift exists i\ufb00f#(\u03c01(W ))\u2282p#(\u03c01(X)), where the maps are assumed to
preserve base points.
Universal cover:Of particular note is the monomorphismp# :\u03c01(X)\u2192\u03c01(Y ).
In particular, a space is simply connected i\ufb00 it has no nontrivial covers. With few
conditions, every space has a unique simply connected covering space, called the
universal cover.
3.2 Deck Transformations

Note that, given a covering mapp :X\u2192 Y , the group\u03c01(Y, y0) acts on the\ufb01berp\u22121(y0) as a group of permutations. The action is given by lifting a loop in\u03c01(Y, y0) to a path starting at somex\u2208 p\u22121(y0)... the endpoint of this path is the result of the action.

Isotropy Subgroup:ifJ =\u03c01(Y, y0), this is given byJx0 ={\u03b1 \u2208J :x0\u00b7 \u03b1 =
x0}= \ue002{p#: \u03c01(X, x0)\u2192 pi1(Y, y0)}. In this case, \u03c6: Jx0J \u2192 Fis a bijection,

so there is a 1:1 correspondence between right cosetsp#\u03c01(X, x0)\u03c01(Y, y0) and the \ufb01berp\u22121(y0). This in turn implies that the number of sheets of the covering map is precisely the index ofp#(\u03c01(X, x0)) in\u03c01(Y, y0). In the speci\ufb01c case of the universal cover, the number of sheets is just the order of\u03c01(Y, y0).

Deck transformation:given a covering mapp :X\u2192 Y , it is a homeomorphism
D: X\u2192 Xof the cover. Deck transformations form a group \u2206 = \u2206p under map
composition.
3

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