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# Outline

Introduction
Fundamental Group
Conclusion

The Fundamental Group
Miliyon T.
Department of Mathematics

June 22, 2015

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Conclusion

”First tell them what you are going to tell them. Tell them.
Tell them what you have told them.”
— Paul Halmos, I want to be a mathematician

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Introduction
Fundamental Group
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Henri Poincare

(1854-1912)

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Introduction
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Conclusion

Introduction
Basic Set Theory
Basic Group Theory
Basic Topology
Homeomorphism
Fundamental Group
Homotopy
Homotopy of paths
Fundamental Group
Conclusion

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The basic idea that we need in this section is an equivalence
relation which is defined as follows.

Definition
An equivalence relationa on a set X is a relation R ⊂ X × X
such that
Reflexive: (x, x) ∈ R for all x ∈ X .
Symmetric: (x, y ) ∈ R implies (y , x) ∈ R.
Transitive: (x, y ) and (y , z) ∈ R imply (x, z) ∈ R.
a
It helps us a lot in defining the elements of the fundamental group. As we
will soon enough, it would have been too hard (maybe impossible) for us to
define the elements of the fundamental group without it.

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The other important thing we should know is a mathematical
group.

Definition (Group)
An algebraic structure with one binary operation (G , ∆) is called a
group iff the following four conditions(group axioms) are satisfied
Closure: ∀a, b ∈ G ⇒ a∆b ∈ G .
Associative: ∀a, b, c ∈ G ⇒ a∆(b∆c) = (a∆b)∆c.
Identity: ∃e ∈ G 3 a∆e = e∆a, ∀a ∈ G .
Inverse: ∀a ∈ G , ∃a−1 ∈ G 3 a∆a−1 = e = a−1 ∆a.
If ∆ is commutative, then G is called an abelian group. In our
definition above there is a word ”algebraic structure”. Which is
nothing but a non empty set together with one or more finitary
operations defined on it. We usually designate a∆b by ab.
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The notion of the fundamental group for the first time appears in
the works of Poincare around 1895. He was trying to classify
topological spaces(Riemann Surfaces) in the same time that he
discover this beautiful concept. So, here we are defining
Topological space.

Definition
A topology on a set X is a collection τ of subsets of a non empty
set X satisfying the following axioms:
1

∅ and X are in τ .

2

The union of any number of sets in τ is in τ .

3

The intersection of any two sets in τ is in τ .

The members of τ are then called τ − open sets, or simply open
sets.
The ordered pair (X , τ ) is called a topological space(TS).
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Definition (Continuous Map)
Let X and Y be TS. A map f : X → Y is said to be cont. if for
each open subset V of Y , the set f −1 (V ) is an open subset of X .

Lemma
A function f : X → Y is continuous if and only if the inverse
image of every closed subset of Y is a closed subset of X .

Proof.
Suppose f : X → Y is continuous, and A a closed subset of Y .
Then A0 is open, and so f −1 (A0 ) is open in X . But
f −1 [A0 ] = (f −1 [A])0 ; therefore f −1 [A] is closed. Conversely, assume
A closed in Y implies f −1 [A] closed in X . Let G be an open subset
of Y . Then G 0 is closed in Y , and so f −1 [G 0 ] = (f −1 [G ])0 is closed
in X . Hence, f −1 [G ] is open and therefore f is continuous.
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Theorem (The pasting lemma)
Let X = A ∪ B, where A and B are closed in X . Let f : A → Y
and g : B → Y be continuous. If f (x) = g (x) for every x ∈ A ∪ B,
then f & g combine to give a continuous function h : X → Y
defined by setting h(x) = f (x) if x ∈ A and h(x) = g (x) if x ∈ B.

Proof.
Let C be a closed subset of Y . Now
h−1 (C ) = f −1 (C ) ∪ g −1 (C ),
by elementary set theory. Since f is continuous, f −1 (C ) is closed
in A hence closed in X . Similarly, g −1 (C ) is closed in B and
therefore closed in X . Their union h−1 (C ) is thus closed in X .
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Definition (Homeomorphism)
Let X and Y be topological spaces; let f : X → Y be a bijection.
If both the function f and the inverse function
f −1 : Y → X
are continuous, then f is called a homeomorphism.

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Definition (Path)
Let I = [0, 1], the closed unit interval. A path from a point a to a
point b in a topological space X is a continuous function
f : I → X with f (0) = a and f (1) = b. Here a and b are called
initial and terminal points respectively.

Figure : Path

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Definition (Homotopy)
If f and f 0 are continuous maps of the space X into the space Y ,
we say that f is homotopic to f 0 if there is a continuous map
F : X × I → Y such that
F (x, 0) = f (x)

and

F (x, 1) = f 0 (x)

for each x. Where I = [0, 1] the unit interval. The map F is called
a homotopy between f and f 0 .
If f is homotopic to f 0 we write f ' f 0 . If f ' f 0 and f 0 is a
constant map, we say that f is nulhomotopic. We think of a
homotopy as a continuous one-parameter family of maps from X
to Y . If we imagine the parameter t as representing time, then the
homotopy F represents a continuous deforming of the map f to
the map f 0 , as t goes from 0 to 1.
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Definition
If f : I → X and f 0 : I → X are two paths with the same initial
point p ∈ X and the same terminal point q ∈ X . We say that f is
homotopic to f 0 if there is a continuous map F : I × I → X 3
F (s, 0) = f (s)
F (0, t) = p

and
and

F (s, 1) = f 0 (s),
F (1, t) = q

for each s ∈ I and t ∈ I . F is a path homotopy between f and f 0
see figure 2.

Figure : Homotopy of path
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Theorem
The relations ' and 'p are equivalence relations.

Proof.
(i) Given f it is trivial that f ' f ; the map F (x, t) = f (x) is the
required homotopy. If f is a path, F is a path homotopy.
(ii) Given f ' f 0 , we show that f 0 ' f . Let F be a homotopy
between f and f 0 . Then G (x, t) = F (x, 1 − t) is a homotopy
between f 0 and f . If f a path homotopy so is G .
(iii) Suppose that f ' f 0 and f 0 ' f 00 . WTS f ' f 00 . Let F be a
homotopy between f and f 00 and let F 0 be a homotopy between f 0
and f 00 . Define G : X × I → Y by the equation
(
F (x, 2t),
for t ∈ [0, 1/2]
G (x, t) =
0
F (x, 2t − 1), for t ∈ [1/2, 1]
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Proof.
The map G is well-defined, since if t = 1/2, we have
F (x, 2t) = f 0 (x) = F 0 (x, 2t − 1)
Because G is continuous on the two closed subsets X × [0, 1/2]
and X × [1/2, 1] of X × I , it is continuous on all of X × I , by (6).
Thus G is the required homotopy between f and f ”. The following
figure illustrates if F and F 0 are path homotopies, so is G

Figure : Transitive property of path homotopy.

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Definition (Concatenation)
If f is a path in X from x0 to x1 , and if g is a path from x1 to x2 ,
we define the product of f ∗ g of f and g to be the path h given by
the equations
(
f (2s),
for s ∈ [0, 1/2]
h(s) =
g (2s − 1), for s ∈ [1/2, 1]

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Definition
A loop in a topological space is a path in the space whose initial
point and terminal point are the same. If the initial point and
terminal point of a loop in the topological space X are both the
point x0 ∈ X , we will say that the loop is based at x0 .
Let X be a topological space and x0 be a point in X . Then the x0
neighborhood of curves in X , C (X , x0 ), is the collection of all
continuous mappings f : I → X of the unit interval into X such
that f (0) = x0 = f (1). i.e. the collection of all loops based at x0 .

Definition
Let f and g be two maps in C (X , x0 ) that means f and g are
loops based at x0 . Then f is homotopic to g modulo x0 if f and g
are homotopic in a usual sense with some additional restriction.
Here is the restriction: If H is the homotopy between f and g ,
then H(0, t) = x0 = H(1, t).
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Theorem
The set of path homotopy equivalence class of loops based at
x0 ∈ X is a group under the ”multiplication” defined by
[α][β] = [αβ]. This group is denoted by π1 (X , x0 ) and is called the
fundamental group of X at x0 .

Proof outline.
I. The operation is well defined.
II. Associative
III. The identity element is ex0 .
IV. The inverse of α(t) is α(1 − t).

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Instead of the fundamental group of X based at x0 it would be nice
to have the fundamental group of X . In other words, we would like
to have the fundamental group depend only on the space, and not
on the particular point of the space that we base our loops at.

Theorem
Let x0 , x1 ∈ X . If there is a path in X from x0 to x1 then the
groups π1 (X , x0 ) and π1 (X , x1 ) are isomorphic.

Proof.
To show the two groups are isomorphic is just a matter of finding a
bijective map from one to the other.
Let γ be a path from x0 to x1 . If α is a loop based at x0 , then
(γ −1 ∗ α) ∗ γ is a closed path based at x1 .

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Proof.

Figure : The importance of base point

We therefore define uγ : π1 (X , x0 ) → π1 (X , x1 )
by uγ [α] = [γ −1 ∗ α ∗ γ] that is, follow γ −1 from x1 to x0 , then
follow α around back to xo , then follow γ back to x1 , all giving a
loop based at x1 .
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Proof.
uγ ([α] ∗ [β]) = uγ ([α ∗ β])
= [γ −1 ∗ α ∗ β ∗ γ]
= [γ −1 ∗ α ∗ γ ∗ γ −1 ∗ β ∗ γ]
= [γ −1 ∗ α ∗ γ] ∗ [γ −1 ∗ β ∗ γ]
= uγ ([α]) ∗ uγ ([β])
Thus, uγ is a homomorphism.
Using the path γ −1 from x1 to x0 we can define
uγ −1 : π1 (X , x1 ) → π1 (X , x0 )
by uγ −1 ([α]) = [γ ∗ α ∗ γ −1 ].
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Proof.
Now, check
uγ −1 uγ [α] = uγ −1 [γ −1 ∗ α ∗ γ] = [γ ∗ γ −1 ∗ α ∗ γ ∗ γ −1 ] = [α]
uγ uγ −1 [α] = uγ [γ ∗ α ∗ γ −1 ] = [γ −1 ∗ γ ∗ α ∗ γ −1 ∗ γ] = [α]
So, uγ is bijective and hence an isomorphism.

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Conclusion
Determining whether two given topological spaces are
homeomorphic is a fundamental question in topology.
• Showing two space are homeomorphic is a matter of

constructing a continuous map from one to the other which
has also a continuous inverse.
• If we can find some topological property that holds for one
topological space but not for the other, then this two spaces
are not homeomorphic.

Example
1

[0, 1] is not homeomorphic to (0, 1) since the first is compact
and the second is not.

2

R is not homeomorphic to R2 since deleting a point from R2
leaves a connected space and deleting a point from R doesn’t.

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Example
i. R2 is not homeomorphic to R3 . Because deleting a
point from R3 leaves a simply connected space, but
deleting a point from R2 does not.
ii. S 2  T using similar argument.
As we have seen earlier, the idea of simple connectedness is
generalised through the fundamental group, which includes
simple connectedness as a special case. The condition of simple
connectedness is just the condition that the fundamental group of
X is the trivial group. So, the most important way of determining
two spaces are not homeomorphic is by using their fundamental
group.

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Just for Fun
A Man is topologically equivalent to torus.

Figure : Drawing by Fuad M.
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References

James Munkres
Topology, Second Edition.
I.M singer
Lecture notes in elementary topology and geometry.
Seymour Lipschutz
Genereal Topology (1965).

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