# fundamental group

Let $(X,x_{0})$ be a pointed topological space  (that is, a topological space  with a chosen basepoint $x_{0}$). Denote by $[(S^{1},1),(X,x_{0})]$ the set of homotopy classes of maps $\sigma\colon S^{1}\to X$ such that $\sigma(1)=x_{0}$. Here, $1$ denotes the basepoint $(1,0)\in S^{1}$. Define a product   $[(S^{1},1),(X,x_{0})]\times[(S^{1},1),(X,x_{0})]\to[(S^{1},1),(X,x_{0})]$ by $[\sigma][\tau]=[\sigma\tau]$, where $\sigma\tau$ means “travel along $\sigma$ and then $\tau$”. This gives $[(S^{1},1),(X,x_{0})]$ a group structure and we define the fundamental group   of $(X,x_{0})$ to be $\pi_{1}(X,x_{0})=[(S^{1},1),(X,x_{0})]$.

Here are some examples of fundamental groups of familiar spaces:

• $\pi_{1}(\mathbb{R}^{n})\cong\{0\}$ for each $n\in\mathbb{N}$.

• $\pi_{1}(S^{1})\cong\mathbb{Z}$.

• $\pi_{1}(T)\cong\mathbb{Z}\oplus\mathbb{Z}$, where $T$ is the torus.

It can be shown that $\pi_{1}$ is a functor  from the category of pointed topological spaces to the category of groups. In particular, the fundamental group is a topological invariant, in the sense that if $(X,x_{0})$ is homeomorphic  to $(Y,y_{0})$ via a basepoint-preserving map, then $\pi_{1}(X,x_{0})$ is isomorphic to $\pi_{1}(Y,y_{0})$.

It can also be shown that two homotopically equivalent path-connected spaces have isomorphic fundamental groups.

Homotopy groups  generalize the concept of the fundamental group to higher dimensions  . The fundamental group is the first homotopy group, which is why the notation $\pi_{1}$ is used.

 Title fundamental group Canonical name FundamentalGroup Date of creation 2013-03-22 11:58:44 Last modified on 2013-03-22 11:58:44 Owner yark (2760) Last modified by yark (2760) Numerical id 16 Author yark (2760) Entry type Definition Classification msc 57M05 Classification msc 55Q05 Classification msc 20F34 Synonym first homotopy group Related topic Group Related topic Curve Related topic EtaleFundamentalGroup