Math 731 (TTh 12:30 - 1:45, in LeConte 303B)
General Topology II

Spring 2010

Professor: Peter J. Nyikos

Office: LeConte 406

Phone: 7-5134


Office hours for the week of March 1 - 5: Monday, 4:00 - 6:00; Tuesday, 11--12; Wednesday, 1:30 -- 3:30 and Thursday, 11:00--12:15 and 3:30 -- 5:30.

Textbook: General Topology by S. Willard, Dover Publications.

This course includes an in-depth coverage of metrizable spaces (including complete ones, for which we will prove the Baire Category Theorem), uniform spaces, connectedness in topological spaces (including an introduction to homotopy theory), and function spaces. It also covers an assortment of other topics depending on the interests of the students.

General topology is more like a spreading bush than a tree. There are many concepts close enough to the ground, so to speak, so that a student can pick them up with a minimum of background knowledge. So, although this is the second semester of a two-semester sequence, the first semester Math 730 (General Topology I) is not a formal prerequisite for it. A semester of topology, or two semesters in analysis [functional analysis is especially helpful], are enough to do well in Math 731. Short reviews of basic concepts and theorems will be given where needed.

The course uses the same textbook that we used for Math 730. The book, a Dover Publications reprint, is a real bargain. The first week of the course was mostly a review of topics covered in the first semester. The rest of the course covers sections 12 and 16, and most of Chapters 6, 7, and 8, and also parts of Chapters 9 and 10 as time permits.

The material in Chapters 7, 9 and 10 are especially helpful to students studying analysis. Chapter 8 deals with connectedness and disconnectedness and includes sections on homotopy theory, the gateway to algebraic topology. In Chapter 9 uniform spaces are covered. These are topological spaces with additional structure, just as metric spaces are topological spaces with a structure where distances play a key role. In fact, each metric is associated with a unique uniformity, whereas the same topology might have many different uniformities and proximities associated with it.

Chapter 10 deals with function spaces and includes theorems about pointwise and uniform convergence of real-valued continuous functions as well as topologies on the whole function space (or the subspace of bounded functions). The chapter culminates in two classic theorems, the Arzela-Ascoli theorem and the Stone-Weierstrass Theorem, which will be discussed.

The midterm and final exam will only be counted if they pull up your grade from what you get in homework. If all three are counted, homework contributes 50%, the midterm 15%, and the final exam 35% to the overall grade. There will also be opportunities to obtain extra credit by giving presentations, either in class or in the seminar.

There will be fewer homework problems than in Math 730, never more than three a week, and for all of them you get two chances to get them right before the point values go down. Some of them will be treated like the starred problems in Math 730: on the third try the additional progress you make will be given 3/4 credit, on the fourth it will be half credit, and on the fifth it will be 1/4 credit.

Students are not required to come up with proofs on the midterm nor the final exam, but only on homework; some memorization of proofs is expected, and students will be tested only for (some of the) proofs that have been talked about in class or gotten right by everyone on the homework, with plenty of opportunity for asking of questions.