Math 361: Introduction to Topology

Jason Parsley


  • Class is cancelled on Friday, 3/2 ... we will make this up through presentations at the end of the semester.
  • These office hours are cancelled: W., 2/29, 3:30-4; Th., 3/1, 2-4
  • More extra-credit talks have been listed below.
  • All lecture notes through M., 2/20 are now posted under Course Documents, as well as one homework solution (1.6.4).

Course information

Meeting times: MWF 11am, room 125.
My office hours (330 Manchester):

  • MW 10-11am
  • W, 3:30-4pm (this will occasionally be moved)
  • Th 2-4pm
  • by appointment

Website Info

We'll post most everything for the course on this site, including assignments, projects, pictures, and various other stuff.

Course description

Topology is the study of the shape of objects in one, two, three, ... dimensions, where we are not concerned with their precise geometry. Rather, a topologist considers two objects the same if one can be `nicely' deformed to another. The word `nicely' can assume different meanings depending on the context. We will cover the first four chapters of Messer and Straffin's book and possibly some of chapter 6, including these topics.

  • Deformations [2-3 weeks]
  • Knot Theory [3-5 weeks]
  • Classification of Surfaces [3 weeks]
  • Three-dimensional manifolds [2-3 weeks]
  • The fundamental group [2+ weeks]

Extra-credit talks

If you go to any of the following talks, you will earn gold stars (extra-credit). Each talk is typically worth 1 star. Unless noted, talks are in 016 Manchester and at 4pm.

  • W., 1/18: Math Dept. Opening Colloquium
  • Statistics professor hiring talks [these are likely to be aimed above an undergrad level]
  • M., 1/30: Dr. Rebecca Alexander (WFU Chemistry), on the history of women in science [DeTamble Auditorium, Tribble, 4:30pm]
  • M., 2/13: Undergraduate Research Opportunities -- aimed at sophomores & juniors -- you can get paid good money to do mathematical research this summer [math lounge (Manchester 336), 6pm]
  • M., 2/20: Student Research Presentations (by math grad/undergrad students)
  • W., 2/22: Math Club Talk: Dr. John Webb
  • Tu., 2/28: Math Club Event: Origami [7-9pm]
  • W., 4/4: Math Colloquium, Dr. Jonah Swann (Bryn Mawr College), on topology
  • W., 4/18: Math Club Talk: Dr. Frank Moore