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Geometric proof and applications of the Borsuk-Ulam theorem

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Title: Geometric proof and applications of the Borsuk-Ulam theorem
Author(s): Kelomäki, Tuomas
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Science, none
Discipline: none
Degree program: Master's Programme in Mathematics and Statistics
Specialisation: Mathematics
Language: English
Acceptance year: 2020
This thesis provides a proof and some applications for the famous result in topology called the Borsuk-Ulam theorem. The standard formulation of the Borsuk-Ulam theorem states that for every continuous map from an n-sphere to n-dimensional Euclidean space there are antipodal points that map on top of each other. Even though the claim is quite elementary, the Borsuk-Ulam theorem is surprisingly difficult to prove. There are many different kinds of proofs to the Borsuk-Ulam theorem and nowadays the standard method of proof uses heavy algebraic topology. In this thesis a more elementary, geometric proof is presented. Some fairly fundamental geometric objects are presented at the start. The basics of affine and convex sets, simplices and simplicial complexes are introduced. After that we construct a specific simplicial complex and present a method, iterated barycentric subdivision, to make it finer. In addition to simplicial complexes, the theory we are using revolves around general positioning and perturbations. Both of these subjects are covered briefly. A major part in our proof of the Borsuk-Ulam theorem is to show that a certain homotopy function F from a specific n + 1-manifold to the n-dimensional Euclidean space can be by approximated another map G. Moreover this approximation can be done in a way so that the kernel of G is a symmetric 1-manifold. The foundation for approximating F is laid with iterated barycentric subdivision. The approximation function G is obtained by perturbating F on the vertices of the simplicial complex and by extending it locally affinely. The perturbation is done in a way so that the image of vertices is in a general position. After proving the Borsuk-Ulam theorem, we present a few applications of it. These examples show quite nicely how versatile the Borsuk-Ulam theorem is. We prove two formulations of the Ham Sandwich theorem. We also deduce the Lusternik-Schnirelmann theorem from the Borsuk- Ulam theorem and with that we calculate the chromatic numbers of the Kneser graphs. The final application we prove is the Topological Radon theorem.
Keyword(s): Borsuk-Ulam theorem Topology Geometry Simplicial complex

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