Take the 2-minute tour ×
Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Before answering, please see our policy on resource recommendation questions. Please try to give substantial answers that detail the style, content, and prerequisites of the book or paper (or other resource). Explain what the resource is like as much as you can; that way the reader can decide which one is most suited for them rather than relying on the suggestions of others. Answers which just suggest a book or paper may be deleted.

Also note that all answers to this question are automatically community-owned, so they are often subject to major editing, often to make them comply with the book policy.

I am now going through Isham's book Modern differential geometry for physicists and got stuck with the notions of etale bundle, presheaf and sheaf. Could someone please suggest some other, more intuitive and more accessible references on etale bundles and sheaves, preferably the ones giving more motivation and sufficiently many explicit (and worked-out) examples and, preferably, accessible to theoretical physicists (i.e., not just mathematicians)?

P.S. To make things clear, a few math texts I have managed to find so far like Godement's and Bredon's Sheaf Theory (two books with the same title) seem way too tough for me. The part on sheaves in Arapura's Algebraic Geometry over Complex Numbers is somewhat better but still a bit too fast going and with too few examples and not too much motivation. Pretty much the same applies to the part on sheaves (which is too brief anyway) in the Clay Institute volume Mirror Symmetry. If there are no suitable books, are there perhaps some good lecture notes on the subject accessible to physicists rather than just mathematicians, from which one get a reasonable intuition on sheaves and stuff?

share|improve this question
Why have you removed the "intuitive" part? You state in the question that you want an intuitive resource. –  Dimensio1n0 Nov 23 '13 at 14:45

1 Answer 1

Here is a motivation for the general notion of sheaf and sheaf cohomology:

A general introduction to differential geometry as needed in physics in terms of sheaves is at

More along these lines is in section 1.2 of arXiv:1310.7930, which describes physics in terms of sheaves (and higher sheaves) on smooth manifolds (and variants thereof).

share|improve this answer
+1 I'm sure this joke has been made before but what a truly awesome schreiber you are to have put together your contibutions to the nLab! What a wonderful project! –  WetSavannaAnimal aka Rod Vance Nov 17 '13 at 23:54

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.