Kline sphere characterization

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In mathematics, a Kline sphere characterization, named after John Robert Kline, is a topological characterization of a two-dimensional sphere in terms of what sort of subset separates it. Its proof was one of the first notable accomplishments of R. H. Bing.

A simple closed curve in a two-dimensional sphere (for instance, its equator) separates the sphere into two pieces upon removal. If one removes a pair of points from a sphere, however, the remainder is connected. Kline's sphere characterization states that the converse is true: If a nondegenerate locally connected metric continuum is separated by any simple closed curve but by no pair of points, then it is a two-dimensional sphere.


  • Bing, R. H., "The Kline sphere characterization problem", Bulletin of the American Mathematical Society 52 (1946), 644–653.