Section problems for configuration spaces of surfaces

20 May 2019  ·  Chen Lei ·

In this paper we give a close-to-sharp answer to the basic questions: When is there a continuous way to add a point to a configuration of $n$ ordered points on a surface $S$ of finite type so that all the points are still distinct? When this is possible, what are all the ways to do it?.. More precisely, let PConf$_n(S)$ be the space of ordered $n$-tuple of distinct points in $S$. Let $f_n(S): \text{PConf}_{n+1}(S) \to \text{PConf}_n(S)$ be the map given by $f_n(x_0,x_1,\ldots ,x_n):=(x_1,\ldots ,x_n)$. We classify all continuous sections of $f_n$ up to homotopy by proving the following. 1. If $S=\mathbb{R}^2$ and $n>3$, any section of $f_{n}(S)$ is either "adding a point at infinity" or "adding a point near $x_k$". (We define these two terms in Section 2.1; whether we can define "adding a point near $x_k$" or "adding a point at infinity" depends in a delicate way on properties of $S$. ) 2. If $S=S^2$ a $2$-sphere and $n>4$, any section of $f_{n}(S)$ is "adding a point near $x_k$"; if $S=S^2$ and $n=2$, the bundle $f_n(S)$ does not have a section. (We define this term in Section 3.2) 3. If $S=S_g$ a surface of genus $g>1$ and for $n>1$, we give an easy proof that the bundle $f_{n}(S)$ does not have a section. read more

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