# universal bundle

Let $G$ be a topological group  . A universal bundle for $G$ is a principal bundle  $p:EG\to BG$ such that for any principal bundle $\pi:E\to B$, with $B$ a CW-complex  , there is a map $\varphi:B\to BG$, unique up to homotopy  , such that the pullback bundle $\varphi^{*}(p)$ is equivalent     to $\pi$, that is such that there is a bundle map  $\varphi^{\prime}$.

 $\xymatrix{E\ar[d]^{\pi}\ar[r]^{\varphi^{\prime}(E)}&EG\ar[d]^{p}\\ B\ar[r]^{\varphi^{\prime}(B)}&BG}$

with $\varphi^{\prime}(B)=\varphi$, such that any bundle map of any bundle over $B$ extending $\varphi$ factors uniquely through $\varphi^{\prime}$.

The base space $BG$ is often called a classifying space of $G$, since homotopy classes of maps to it from a given space classify $G$-bundles over that space.

There is a useful criterion for universality: a bundle is universal  if and only if all the homotopy groups of $EG$, its total space, are trivial. This allows us to construct the universal bundle any subgroup from that of a larger group. Assume $H\leq G$ and that $p:EG\to BG$ is a universal bundle for $G$. Then $H$ also acts freely on $EG$ which is contractable so $p_{H}:EH=EB\to BH=EB/H$ must be a universal bundle for $H$.

In 1956, John Milnor gave a general construction of the universal bundle for any topological group $G$ (see Annals of Mathematics, Second Series, Volume 63 Issue 2 and Issue 3 for details). His construction uses the infinite join of the group $G$ with itself to define the total space of the universal bundle.

Title universal bundle UniversalBundle 2013-03-22 13:07:21 2013-03-22 13:07:21 mps (409) mps (409) 14 mps (409) Definition msc 55R10 msc 55R15 classifying space