The Unapologetic Mathematician

Mathematics for the interested outsider

Integrals over Manifolds (part 1)

We’ve defined how to integrate forms over chains made up of singular cubes, but we still haven’t really defined integration on manifolds. We’ve sort of waved our hands at the idea that integrating over a cube is the same as integrating over its image, but this needs firming up. In particular, we will restrict to oriented manifolds.

To this end, we start by supposing that an n-form \omega is supported in the image of an orientation-preserving singular n-cube c:[0,1]^n\to M. Then we will define


Indeed, here the image of c is some embedded submanifold of M that even agrees with its orientation. And since \omega is zero outside of this submanifold it makes sense to say that the integral over the submanifold — over the singular cube c — is the same as the integral over the whole manifold.

What if we have two orientation-preserving singular cubes c_1 and c_2 that both contain the support of \omega? It only makes sense that they should give the same integral. And, indeed, we find that

\displaystyle\int\limits_{c_2}\omega=\int\limits_{c_2\circ c_2^{-1}\circ c_1}\omega=\int\limits_{c_1}\omega

where we use c_2^{-1}\circ c_1 to reparameterize our integral. Of course, this function may not be defined on all of [0,1]^n, but it’s defined on c_1\left([0,1]^n\right)\cap c_2\left([0,1]^n\right), where \omega is supported, and that’s enough.

September 5, 2011 - Posted by | Differential Topology, Topology


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  2. […] then is an orientation-preserving singular cube containing the support of , and so we can use it to calculate integrals over . Working in from each side of our proposed equality we […]

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