Surface - Connected Sums

Connected Sums

The connected sum of two surfaces M and N, denoted M # N, is obtained by removing a disk from each of them and gluing them along the boundary components that result. The boundary of a disk is a circle, so these boundary components are circles. The Euler characteristic of M # N is the sum of the Euler characteristics of the summands, minus two:

The sphere S is an identity element for the connected sum, meaning that S # M = M. This is because deleting a disk from the sphere leaves a disk, which simply replaces the disk deleted from M upon gluing.

Connected summation with the torus T is also described as attaching a "handle" to the other summand M. If M is orientable, then so is T # M. The connected sum is associative, so the connected sum of a finite collection of surfaces is well-defined.

The connected sum of two real projective planes, P # P, is the Klein bottle K. The connected sum of the real projective plane and the Klein bottle is homeomorphic to the connected sum of the real projective plane with the torus; in a formula, P # K = P # T. Thus, the connected sum of three real projective planes is homeomorphic to the connected sum of the real projective plane with the torus. Any connected sum involving a real projective plane is nonorientable.

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