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40
votes
6answers
2k views

What is known about the topological structure of spacetime?

General relativity says that spacetime is a Lorentzian 4-manifold $M$ whose metric satisfies Einstein's field equations. I have two questions: What topological restrictions do Einstein's equations ...
26
votes
2answers
818 views

Intuitively, why are bundles so important in Physics?

This question probably seems silly and I don't really know if it fits properly here, but the point is the following: I've seem the notion of bundles, fiber bundles, connections on bundles and so on ...
22
votes
2answers
498 views

Does a charged or rotating black hole change the genus of spacetime?

For a Reissner–Nordström or Kerr black hole there is an analytic continuation through the event horizon and back out. Assuming this is physically meaningful (various site members hereabouts think ...
18
votes
10answers
3k views

Applications of Algebraic Topology to physics

I have always wondered about applications of Algebraic Topology to Physics, seeing as am I studying algebraic topology and physics is cool and pretty. My initial thoughts would be that since most ...
16
votes
7answers
2k views

Quantum mechanics on a manifold

In quantum mechanics the state of a free particle in three dimensional space is $L^2(\mathbb R^3)$, more accurately the projective space of that Hilbert space. Here I am ignoring internal degrees of ...
16
votes
1answer
528 views

Why is there no theta-angle (topological term) for the weak interactions?

Why is there no analog for $\Theta_\text{QCD}$ for the weak interaction? Is this topological term generated? If not, why not? Is this related to the fact that $SU(2)_L$ is broken?
15
votes
3answers
434 views

Homotopy $\pi_4(SU(2))=\mathbb{Z}_2$

Recently I read a paper using $$\pi_4(SU(2))=\mathbb{Z}_2.$$ Do you have any visualization or explanation of this result? More generally, how do physicists understand or calculate high dimension ...
12
votes
1answer
67 views

Relationship between Weak Cosmic Censorship and Topological Censorship

The weak cosmic censorship states that any singularity cannot be in the causual past of null infinity (reference). The topological censorship hypothesis states that in a globally hyperbolic, ...
12
votes
2answers
381 views

The entropic cost of tying knots in polymers

Imagine I take a polymer like polyethylene, of length $L$ with some number of Kuhn lengths $N$, and I tie into into a trefoil knot. What is the difference in entropy between this knotted polymer and ...
12
votes
1answer
360 views

Does the existence of Higgs imply the existence of Magnetic Monopoles?

I am aware that in theories with spontaneous symmetry breaking, Magnetic Monopoles can exist as topological solitons. Can the same be done with the Standard Model gauge group. I am familiar with the ...
12
votes
1answer
133 views

Soliton Moduli Spaces and Homotopy Theory

The four-dimensional $SU(N)$ Yang-Mills Lagrangian is given by $$\mathcal{L}=\frac{1}{2e^2}\mathrm{Tr}F_{\mu\nu}F^{\mu\nu}$$ and gives rise to the Euclidean equations of motion $\mathcal{D}_\mu ...
11
votes
2answers
390 views

Does topology have any role in classical physics?

I've seen many applications of topology in Quantum Mechanics (topological insulators, quantum Hall effects, TQFT, etc.) Does any of these phenomena have anything in common? Is there any intuitive ...
9
votes
5answers
258 views

Where do theta functions and canonical Green functions appear in physics

In the beginning of Section 5 in his article, Wentworth mentions a result of Bost and proves it using the spin-1 bosonization formula. This result provides a link between theta functions, canonical ...
9
votes
2answers
518 views

Is spacetime simply connected?

As I've stated in a prior question of mine, I am a mathematician with very little knowledge of Physics, and I ask here things I'm curious about/things that will help me learn. This falls into the ...
9
votes
2answers
287 views

Topology and Quantum mechanics

I have a very simple question. Can we know about the topology of the underlying space-time manifolds from Quantum mechanics calculations? If the Space-time is not simply connected, how can one measure ...
9
votes
1answer
231 views

Lagrangian for Goldstone mode + topological excitation

The XY-model Hamiltonian is the following, $${\cal H}~=~-J\sum_{\langle i,j\rangle} \cos (\theta_i -\theta_j).$$ The Goldstone mode corresponds to term $(\nabla \theta)^2$ in the effective ...
9
votes
1answer
137 views

Why are topological solitons present in some phases for lattice models?

Over a spatial continuum, it is easy to see why some topological solitons like vortices and monopoles have to be stable. For similar reasons, Skyrmions also have to be stable, with a conserved ...
8
votes
4answers
1k views

Shape of the universe?

What is the exact shape of the universe? I know of the balloon analogy, and the bread with raisins in it. These clarify some points, like how the universe can have no centre, and how it can expand ...
8
votes
3answers
86 views

Does the complex 3-sphere have a complex structure modulus?

This question has a flavor which is more mathematical than physical, however it is about a mathematical physics article and I suspect my misunderstanding occurs because the precise mathematical ...
8
votes
3answers
1k views

Can spacetime be non-orientable?

This question asks what constraints there are on the global topology of spacetime from the Einstein equations. It seems to me the quotient of any global solution can in turn be a global solution. In ...
8
votes
3answers
107 views

“tmf$(n)$ is the space of supersymmetric conformal field theories of central charge $-n$”

I read this intriguing statement in John Baez' week 197 the other day, and I've been giving it some thought. The post in question is from 2003, so I was wondering if there has been any progress in ...
8
votes
3answers
563 views

Is anyone studying how the general topology of spacetime arises from more fundamental notions?

Stephen Wolfram in his book A New Kind of Science touches on a model of space itself based on automata theory. That it, he makes some suggestions about modelling not only the behaviour of matter ...
8
votes
2answers
208 views

What are orbifolds and why are they useful and interesting for physics?

Just what the title says. What's the basic definition of an orbifold? How do they arise in physics and why are they interesting?
8
votes
1answer
442 views

What is topological degeneracy in condensed matter physics?

What is topological degeneracy in strongly correlated systems such as FQH? What is the difference between topological degeneracy and ordinary degeneracy? Why is topological degeneracy important for ...
8
votes
0answers
160 views

p-Adic String Theory and the String-orientation of Topological Modular Forms (tmf)

I am going to ask a question, at the end below, on whether anyone has tried to make more explicit what should be a close relation between p-adic string theory and the refinement of the superstring ...
8
votes
1answer
209 views

Our Universe Can't be Looped? [duplicate]

With reference to the Twin-Paradox (I am new with this), now information of who has actually aged comes from the fact that one of the twins felt some acceleration. So if universe was like a loop, and ...
7
votes
1answer
540 views

Trivial and Non-trivial topology of band structure

I don't understand the meaning of the expression "trivial topology" or "non-trivial topology" for an electronic band structure. Does anybody have a good explanation?
7
votes
1answer
245 views

What is the simplest possible topological Bloch function?

Kohmoto (1985) pointed out in Topological Invariant and the Quantization of the Hall Conductance how TKNN's calcuation of Hall conducance is related to topology, in which topologically nontriviality ...
7
votes
1answer
81 views

Betti multiplets in Kaluza Klein compactifications

It is well known that if the compactification manifold of a supergravity theory has non-zero Betti numbers, this may lead to the so called Betti multiplets in the spectrum of the low dimensional ...
7
votes
1answer
777 views

Questions about Thouless-Kohmoto-Nightingale-den Nijs (TKNN) paper

I am reading the famous and concise Thouless-Kohmoto-Nightingale-den Nijs (TKNN) paper Quantized Hall Conductance in a Two-Dimensional Periodic Potential, Phys. Rev. Lett. 49, 405–408 (1982), where I ...
6
votes
3answers
700 views

Is the Lorentz group compact (and if not, is U(1)?)

A common statement in any quantum field theory text is that only compact groups have finite-dimensional representations, and that the Lorentz group is not compact, since it is parameterised by $0\leq ...
6
votes
1answer
134 views

Topological insulators: why K-theory classification rather than homotopy classification?

I am reading a 2009 paper by Kitaev on K-theory classification of topological insulators. In the 4th page, 1st paragraph in the section "Classification principles", he says, Continuous ...
6
votes
1answer
170 views

Can closed loops evade the spin-statistic theorem in 3 dimensions?

The famous spin-statistics result asserts that there are only bosons and fermions, and that they have integer and integer-and-a-half spin respectively. In two-dimensional condensed matter systems, ...
6
votes
2answers
445 views

Vector Potential for Magnetic field when the field is not in simply-connected region

According to Poincare's Lemma, if $U\subset \mathbb{R}^n$ is a star-shaped set and if $\omega$ is a $k$-form defined in $U$ that is closed, then $\omega$ is exact, meaning that there's some ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

How is the topological $Z_2$ invariant related to the Chern number? (e.g. for a topological insulator)

This question relates to the $Z_2$ invariant defined e.g. for topological insulators: Is it correct to relate $Z_2$ = 1 to an odd Chern number and $Z_2$ = 0 to an even Chern number? If yes, is it ...
6
votes
2answers
680 views

Book covering Topology required for physics and applications

I am a physics undergrad, and interested to learn Topology so far as it has use in Physics. Currently I am trying to study Topological solitons but bogged down by some topological concepts. I am not ...
6
votes
1answer
136 views

Does cosmic censorship rule out stable toroidal black holes? How?

I'm having a hard time understanding what the arguments against stable toroidal black holes are saying. For many of these, I can't figure out if they're talking about: A non-rotating toroidal event ...
6
votes
0answers
40 views

What is the importance of studying degeneration on $M_g$

Let $M_g$ be the moduli space of smooth curves of genus $g$. Let $\overline{M_g}$ be its compactification; the moduli space of stable curves of genus $g$. It seems to be important in physics to study ...
5
votes
3answers
567 views

Does spacetime in general relativity contain holes?

Are there physical models of spacetimes, which have bounded (four dimensional) holes in them? And do the Einstein equations give restrictions to such phenomena? Here by holes I mean ...
5
votes
1answer
114 views

Magnetic field lines and knots

As I was reading the book The Trouble With Physics, I encountered a small paragraph which seemed bit confusing. The paragraph goes as follows: Picture field lines, like the lines of magnetic field ...
5
votes
2answers
593 views

Aharonov-Bohm Effect and Flux Quantization in superconductors

Why is the magnetic flux not quantized in a standard Aharonov-Bohm (infinite) solenoid setup, whereas in a superconductor setting, flux is quantized?
5
votes
1answer
173 views

What do we mean when we say the QM wave function is a section of the $U(1)$ bundle?

I have a couple questions here. To keep the discussion simple lets stick to the following case: what is the quantum mechanics of a single particle in the presence of a background EM field, such as ...
5
votes
1answer
181 views

Aharonov-Bohm Effect in Torus

I had a very brief introduction to the Aharonov-Bohm effect in class. The lecturer introduced the notion that $H(\Phi=\Phi_0)$ and $H(\Phi=0)$ gives identical energy spectrum and that the Hamiltonians ...
5
votes
2answers
358 views

Chiral edge state as topological properity of bulk state

As far as I know, quantum hall effect and quantum spin hall effect has chiral edge state. Chiral edge state is usually closely related with delocalization, since back scattering is forbidden. However, ...
5
votes
1answer
167 views

geometry inside the event horizon

I'm trying to understand intuitively the geometry as it would look to an observer entering the event horizon of a schwarszchild black hole. I would appreciate any insights or corrections to the above. ...
5
votes
1answer
136 views

How is the direction of time determined in general relativity?

In special relativity every frame has its own unique time axis, represented in Minkowski diagrams by a fan-out of time vectors that grows infinitely dense as you approach the surface of the light cone ...
5
votes
1answer
151 views

Topology and Majorana bound states

I'm working at the moment on Majorana Bound states and their topological properties. Now I have a question about it. The Altland-Zirnbauer symmetry classes says us how many topological different ...
5
votes
1answer
182 views

A simple conjecture on the Chern number of a 2-level Hamiltonian $H(\mathbf{k})$?

For example, let's consider a quadratic fermionic Hamiltonian on a 2D lattice with translation symmetry, and assume that the Fourier transformed Hamiltonian is described by a $2\times2$ Hermitian ...
5
votes
0answers
101 views

Why can apparent horizon be computed based on its local geometry?

Why can apparent horizon be computed based on its local geometry? In the paper titled Black Holes, Geometric Flows, and the Penrose Inequality in General Relativity by Hubert L. Bray, has been ...
5
votes
0answers
210 views

7 sphere, is there any physical interpretation of exotic spheres?

Basically an exotic sphere is topologically a sphere, but doesn't look like a one. Or more accurately: homeomorphic but not diffeomorphic to the standard Euclidean n-sphere The first exotic ...