Homeomorphism

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In the mathematical field of topology, a homeomorphism or topological isomorphism or bicontinuous function (from the Greek words ὅμοιος (homoios) = similar and μορφή (morphē) = shape, form) is a continuous function between two topological spaces that has a continuous inverse function. Homeomorphisms are the isomorphisms in the category of topological spaces — that is, they are the mappings which preserve all the topological properties of a given space. Two spaces with a homeomorphism between them are called homeomorphic, and from a topological viewpoint they are the same.

Roughly speaking, a topological space is a geometric object, and the homeomorphism is a continuous stretching and bending of the object into a new shape. Thus, a square and a circle are homeomorphic to each other, but a sphere and a doughnut are not. An often-repeated mathematical joke is that topologists can't tell the coffee cup from which they are drinking from the doughnut they are eating,[1] since a sufficiently pliable doughnut could be reshaped to the form of a coffee cup by creating a dimple and progressively enlarging it, while shrinking the hole into a handle.

Topology is the study of those properties of objects that do not change when homeomorphisms are applied. As Henri Poincaré famously said, mathematics is not the study of objects, but instead, the relations (isomorphisms for instance) between them.

Contents

Definition

A function f: XY between two topological spaces (X, TX) and (Y, TY) is called a homeomorphism if it has the following properties:

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