Topology - Mathematical Definition

Mathematical Definition

Let X be a set and let τ be a family of subsets of X. Then τ is called a topology on X if:

  1. Both the empty set and X are elements of τ
  2. Any union of elements of τ is an element of τ
  3. Any intersection of finitely many elements of τ is an element of τ

If τ is a topology on X, then the pair (X, τ) is called a topological space. The notation Xτ may be used to denote a set X endowed with the particular topology τ.

The members of τ are called open sets in X. A subset of X is said to be closed if its complement is in τ (i.e., its complement is open). A subset of X may be open, closed, both (clopen set), or neither. The empty set and X itself are always clopen.

A function or map from one topological space to another is called continuous if the inverse image of any open set is open. If the function maps the real numbers to the real numbers (both spaces with the Standard Topology), then this definition of continuous is equivalent to the definition of continuous in calculus. If a continuous function is one-to-one and onto, and if the inverse of the function is also continuous, then the function is called a homeomorphism and the domain of the function is said to be homeomorphic to the range. Another way of saying this is that the function has a natural extension to the topology. If two spaces are homeomorphic, they have identical topological properties, and are considered topologically the same. The cube and the sphere are homeomorphic, as are the coffee cup and the doughnut. But the circle is not homeomorphic to the doughnut.

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