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Exercise Problems for Fundamental Groups

51 Homotopy of Paths
3. A space X is said to contractible if the identity map iX : X X is nulhomotopic.
(a) Show that I and R are contractible.
sol) When X = I or R, the identity map idX is homotopic to to the constant map e0 (x) = 0
by the homotopy
F :X I X

F (x, t) = (1 t)x. 

defined by

(b) Show that a contractible space is path connected.


sol) Let F : X I X be a homotopy between the identity map iX and a constant map
ex0 (x) = x0 X. Then each x X can be joined to x0 by the path (t) = F (x, t).

(c) Show that if Y is contractible, then for any X, the set [X, Y ] has a single element.
sol) Let F : Y I Y be a homotopy between the identity map iY and a constant map
ey0 (y) = y0 Y . Given [f ] [X, Y ], define
H :X I Y

by

H(x, t) = F (f (x), t).

Then, H(x, 0) = f (x) and H(x, 1) = y0 and hence [f ] = [cy0 ] where cy0 : X Y is the constant
map cy0 (x) = y0 .

(d) Show that if X is contractible and Y is path connected, then [X, Y ] has a single element.
sol) Let F : X I X be a homotopy between the identity map iX and a constant map
ex0 (x) = x0 . Given [f ] [X, Y ], define
H :X I Y

by

H = f F.

This is a homotopy between f and the constant map cf (x) = f (x0 ). Now, fix y0 Y . The
constant map cf is then homotopic to the constant map cy0 (x) = y0 by the homotopy G(x, t) =
(t) where is a path from f (x0 ) to y0 . Therefore, [f ] = [cf ] = [cy0 ].


52 The Fundamental Group


1. A subset A of Rn is said to star convex if for some point a0 of A, all the line segments joining
a0 to other points of A lie in A.
(a) Find a star convex set that is not convex.
sol) Let A be a union of two lines L1 and L2 in Rn with L1 L2 = {a0 }. Then A is star convex,
but not convex.
(b) Show that if A is star convex, A is simply connected.

sol) There exists a0 A such that any point in A can be joined to a0 by line segment lying in
A. Thus, A is path connected. Now, given [f ] 1 (A, a0 ) define
F :I I A

by

F (s, t) = (1 t)f (s) + ta0 .

Then, F (s, 0) = f (s), F (s, 1) = a0 , F (0, t) = a0 , and F (1, t) = a0 . Thus, [f ] = [ea0 ] where [ea0 ]
is the identity in 1 (A, a0 ).

2. Let be a path in X from x0 to x1 ; let be a path in X from x1 to x2 . Show that if
= , then =
.
sol) Noting =
, for each [f ] 1 (X, x0 ) we have

[
([f ]) = [
] [f ] [] = []
] [f ] [] [] =
([f ]) . 

3. Let x0 and x1 be points of the path-connected space X. Show that 1 (X, x0 ) is abelian if

and only if every pair and of paths from x0 to x1 , we have


= .
sol) Suppose 1 (X, x0 ) is abelian. Let and be paths from x0 to x1 . Then for each [f ]
1 (X, x0 ) we have

]) 1 =
]1 ) = [
[f ]1 []

([f ]) ([f
([f ]) ([f
] [f ] [ ]
[f ] [f ]1 [] = [
[ex ] []
= [
] [ ]
] [] []
0
x ]) = [ex ] [ex ] = [ex ].
= [ex ] ([e
1

Conversely, suppose that for every pair and of paths from x0 to x1 , we have
Thus,
= .
Now, fix a path from x0 to x1 . Then for any [f ], [g] 1 (X, x0 ) we have

= .
g = g[
= f[
= f.
This shows g = f since is an isomorphism. Consequently,
[g]1 [f ] [g] = [
g ] [f ] [g] = g([f ]) = f([f ]) = [f] [f ] [f ] = [f ].
Thus, [f ] [g] = [g] [f ].

4. If r : X A is a retraction of X onto A and a0 A, show that


r : 1 (X, a0 ) 1 (A, a0 )
is surjective.
sol) Let j : A X be an inclusion. Then the composition r j is the identity map of A. Thus,
r j is the identity map of 1 (A, a0 ). This implies r is surjective.


53 Covering Spaces
3. Let p : E B be a covering map ; let B be connected. Show that if p1 (b0 ) has k elements
for some b0 B, then p1 (b) has k elements for every b B.
sol) Let K = {b B | p1 (b) has k elements }. Then K is open since Ub K for each evenly
covered neighborhood Ub of b K. By the same reason, B K is also open. Since K is
non-empty (b0 K), K = B.

4. Let q : X Y and r : Y Z be covering maps ; let p = r q. Show that if r1 (z) is finite
for each z Z, then p is a covering map.
sol) Let z Z and U be an evenly covered neighborhood of z, i.e.,
r1 (U ) =

n
a

Vi (disjoint union)

ri = r|V : Vi U is a homeomorphism.

and

i=1

For each yi p1 (z) Vi , let Vi0 be an evenly covered neighborhood of yi , i.e.,


a
q 1 (Vi0 ) =
Wi, (disjoint union) and qi, = q|W : Wi, Vi0 is a homeomorphism.
i,

Now, let Uz =

n
T
i=1

r(Vi Vi0 ). Then Uz is a (open) neighborhood of z since it is a finite intersection

of open sets r(Vi Vi0 ) = ri (Vi Vi0 ). Recalling ri and qi, are homeomorphisms, denote by si
and ti, the inverse maps of ri and qi, , respectively. Then


r1 (Uz ) Vi = si (Uz ) Vi0
and
q 1 si (Uz ) Wi, = ti, si (Uz )
Consequently, we have
n
a



p1 (Uz ) = q 1 r1 (Uz ) = q 1 r1 (Uz ) r1 (U ) = q 1 r1 (Uz )
Vi
i=1

= q 1

n
a

r1 (Uz ) Vi



= q 1

i=1

n 
a

q 1 si (Uz ) q 1 Vi

n 
a

i=1


 a
q 1 si (Uz )
Wi,

i=1

n a
a
i=1

n
 a

si (Uz ) =
q 1 si (Uz )

i=1


0

i=1

n
a

q 1 si (Uz ) Wi, =


n a
a

ti,


si (Uz ) .

i=1

This shows Uz is evenly covered by p since the restriction of p to ti, si (Uz ) is a homeomorphism
onto Uz .

5. Show that p : S 1 S 1 given by p(z) = z n is a covering map.
0 +2k

sol) First, note that for z = ei0 its preimage by p is p1 (z) = {ei n ) | k = 0, 1, , n 1}.
For small 0 <  < n we set U = {ei : | 0 | < }. Then U is an evenly covered neighborhood

of z = ei0 by p ;
p1 (U ) =

n1
a

Vk

where

Vk = { ei : |

0 +2k
|
n

<


n

} 

k=0

54 The Fundamental Group of the Circle


3. Let p : E B be a covering map. Let and be paths in B with (1) = (0); let
and

be liftings of them such that


(1) = (0). Show that
is a lifting of .
sol) It follows that

p(
(s))
=
= .
This shows p(
)

p(
(2s)) = (2s) ,
0 s 12

p((2s
1)) = (2s 1) , 12 s 1

5. Consider the covering map p p : R R S 1 S 1 where p(x) = (cos 2x, sin 2x). Consider
the path f (t) = (cos 2t, sin 2t) (cos 4t, sin 4t) in S 1 S 1 . Find a lifting f of f to R R.
= (t, 2t). Then f is the lifting of f with f(0) = (0, 0).
sol) Let f (t)

8. Let p : E B be a covering map, with E path connected. Show that if B is simply connected,
then p is a homeomorphism.
sol) Let b0 B and for any x0 , x1 p1 (b0 ) choose a path in E from x0 to x1 . Then p is
a loop in B based at b0 . Since 1 (B, b0 ) is trivial, [p ] = [eb0 ] where eb0 is the constant loop.
Unique Homotopy lifting then shows = p]
and ex0 = ef
b0 are path homotopic and hence
x1 = (1) = ex0 (1) = x0 .
Consequently, since b0 B is arbitrary, p is a 1-1 covering map and thus homeomorphism.

55 Retractions and Fixed Points


1. Show that if A is a retract of B 2 , then every continuous map f : A A has a fixed point.
sol) Let r : B 2 A be a retraction and j : A B 2 be the inclusion. Then
j f r : B2 A A B2
has a fixed point, i.e. j f r(x) = x for x B 2 by Brouwer fixed-point theorem. Since j is the
inclusion of A and r is the retraction onto A, x A and x = f r(x) = f (x).

2. Show that if h : S 1 S 1 is nulhomotopic, then h has a fixed point and h maps some point
x to its antipode x.

sol) Since h is nulhomotopic, h extends to a continuous map k : B 2 S 1 . Then the composition


j k : B 2 B 2 has a fixed point, j k(x) = x for some x B 2 , where j : S 1 B 2 is the
inclusion of S 1 . Since j is the inclusion of S 1 , x S 1 and hence x = k(x) = h(x). Applying the
same arguments to h shows that h(x) = x for some x S 1 .

3. Show that if A is a nonsingular 3 by 3 matrix having nonnegative entries, then A has a
positive real eigenvalue.
sol) Let B be the intersection of 2-sphere S 2 with the first octant in R3 :
B = S 2 { (x, y, z) | x, y, z 0 }.
Observe that Av = 0 only if v = 0 since A is nonsingular and that if v is in the first octant in
R3 then so is Av since all entries of A are nonnegative. As a result, the map v Av/||Av|| is
a continuous map of B to itself. Since B is homeomorphic to B 2 , there exists a fixed point v0 ,
i.e, Av0 = ||Av0 ||v0 . Thus, A has a positive real eigenvalue ||Av0 ||.


57 The Borsuk-Ulam Theorem


1. Prove the theorem of meteorology.
sol) Define f : S 2 R2 by f (x) = (T (x), P (x)) where T (x) and P (x) are the temperature and
the pressure at x. Assume f is continuous. Borsul-Ulam theorem then shows there exits x S 2
such that f (x) = f (x).
2. Show that if g : S 2 S 2 is continuous and g(x) 6= g(x) for all x, then g is surjective.
sol) Suppose g(S 2 ) S 2 {p} for some p S 2 . Fix a homeomorphism h : S 2 {p} R2 and
consider the composition map h g : S 2 R2 . Borsuk-Ulam theorem then shows h(g(x)) =
h(g(x)) for some x S 2 . Since h is 1-1, g(x) = g(x). Therefore, if g(x) 6= g(x) for all x
then g is surjective.

3. Let h : S 1 S 1 be continuous and antipode-preserving with h(b0 ) = b0 . Show that h carries
a generator of 1 (S 1 , b0 ) to an odd power of itself.
sol) Consider the following commutative diagram :
S1

/ S1

S1

/ S1

q : S 1 S 1 is given by q(z) = z 2 and q is a quotient map,


q h is constant on the preimage q 1 {p} of each p S 1 since q 1 {p} = {z, z} where
z 2 = p and q h(z) = q h(z).
The quotient map q and the map q h thus induce a continuous map k : S 1 S 1 such that
k q = q h.

Let b0 be the point (1,0) of S 1 and : [0, 1] S 1 be a loop defined by


(t) = (cos 2t, sin 2t).
Then [] is a generator of 1 (S 1 , b0 ), q [] = 2[] since q (t) = (cos 4t, sin 4t), and
2k [] = k q [] = q h [] = 2h [].
Thus, it suffices to show that k [] = d[] for some odd integer d. Define a path from b0 to b0
f : [0, 1] S 1

by

f (t) = (cos t, sin t).

Note that q f = and that h f is not a loop since h f (1) = h(b0 ) = b0 6= b0 . Since
q : S 1 S 1 is also a covering map, the equation k q f = q h f implies
k^
qf =hf
where k ^
q f is a lifting of k q f . Now, suppose d = 2m. Then
[k q f ] = [k ] = k [] = 2m[] = q (m[]) = q [] = [q ]
where is a loop such that [] = m[], for instance, (t) = (cos 2mt, sin 2mt). Path Homotopo lifting then implies that the lifting k ^
q f = h f is homotopic to the lifting of q .
Consequently, h f is a loop since is a loop. Contradiction!


58 Deformation Retracts and Homotopy Type


1. Show that if A is a deformation retract of X, and B is a deformation retract of A, then B is
a deformation retract of X.
sol) It follows from the given conditions that there exist continuous maps
F :X I X

with F (x, 0) = x and F (x, 1) A x X, and F (a, t) = a a A

G:AI A

with G(a, 0) = a and G(a, 1) B a A, and G(b, t) = b b B.

We will define a product deformation retraction as follows : define H : X I X by



1
F (x, 2t)
 01 t 2
H(x, t) =
G F (x, 1), 2t 1 2 t 1
When t = 12 , G F (x, 1), 0) = F (x, 1). Thus, H is continuous by Pasting Lemma. Now,

H(x, 0) = F (x, 0) = x and H(x, 1) = G F (x, 1), 1 B x X,

F (b,2t) = b
0 t 12
b B, H(b, t) =
1
G F (b, 1), 2t 1 = G(b, 2t 1) = b
2 t1
Therefore, B is a deformation retract of X.

2. Determine for each space which of the three alternatives holds ( trivial, circle or figure eight).
(We will denote the figure eight by F .)

(a) The solid torus B 2 S 1 : 1 (B 2 S 1 ) = 1 (S 1 )


(b) The torus T with a point removed : 1 (T {pt}) = 1 (F )
(c) The cylinder S 1 I : (S 1 I) = 1 (S 1 )
(d) The infinite cylinder S 1 R : 1 (S 1 R) = 1 (S 1 )
(e) X = R3 with the nonnegative x, y, and z axes deleted :
1 (X) = 1 (S 2 {three points}) = 1 (R2 {two points}) = 1 (F ).
(f) X = { x R2 : ||x|| > 1 } : 1 (X) = 1 (S 1 )
(g) X = { x R2 : ||x|| 1 } : 1 (X) = 1 (S 1 )
(h) X = { x R2 : ||x|| < 1 } : 1 (X) = 0
(i) X = S 1 (R+ 0) : 1 (X) = 1 (S 1 )
(j) X = S 1 (R+ R) : 1 (X) = 1 (S 1 )
(k) X = S 1 (R 0) : 1 (X) = 1 (F )
(l) X = R2 (R+ 0) : 1 (X) = 1 (R) = 0