Back to Mark McLean's Homepage
MAT 620:Topics in Topology: Morse Homology
Course Instructor: Mark McLean
Tuesday, Thursday 10:00am-11:20am, Mathematics 5127
Introduction to the Course
Suppose we have some complicated (but smooth) outdoor sculpture or statue and suppose that it is raining. When a rain drop hits the sculpture it sticks to the sculpture and then runs down the side creating a flow line. One can ask: is there a systematic way of finding the shape of such a statue using these flow lines and conversely can one obtain information about these flow lines from knowledge of the shape of the sculpture? There are higher dimensional (and even infinite dimensional) versions of this question, where the 'sculpture' is a manifold and the 'rain' is represented by a smooth function called a Morse function. We will show how you can calculate homology groups using this data and conversely show how one can obtain information such as the number of critical points of a Morse function given the Betti numbers of a manifold, and will prove these facts rigorously. At the end of the course there will be a brief sketch of how one can generalize this to infinite dimensions enabling us to find periodic orbits of Hamiltonian systems. Some of the proofs in this course may not be so efficient as they have infinite dimensions in mind although we will not pursue the infinite dimensional case in any detail in this course.
You should be very familiar with topics in Differential geometry such as
Sards Theorem, Implicit Function theorem, connections and curvature etc.
You must also have some familiarity with analysis such as Banach spaces.
Tuesday 2pm-3pm (Math 4-101B).
Academic Integrity Statement: Each student must pursue his or her academic goals
honestly and be personally accountable for all submitted work. Representing another
person's work as your own is always wrong. Faculty are required to report any suspected
instances of academic dishonesty to the Academic Judiciary. For more comprehensive
information on academic integrity, including categories of academic dishonesty, please
refer to the academic judiciary website,
Critical Incident Management Statement: Stony Brook University expects students
to respect the rights, privileges, and property of other people. Faculty are required
to report to the Office of Judicial Affairs any disruptive behavior that interrupts
their ability to teach, compromises the safety of the learning environment, or
inhibits students' ability to learn.
Disability Support Services (DSS) Statement: If you have a physical, psychological,
medical, or learning disability that may affect your course work, please contact the
office of Disabled StudentServices (DSS), Educational Communications Center (ECC) Building,
room 128, telephone (631) 632-6748.
They will determine with you what accommodations, if any, are necessary and appropriate.
All information and documentation is confidential. Students who require assistance during
emergency evacuation are encouraged to discuss their needs with their professors and Disability
Support Services. For procedures and information go to the following website: