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Spacetime topology is the topological structure of spacetime, a topic studied primarily in general relativity. This physical theory models gravitation as the curvature of a four dimensional Lorentzian manifold (a spacetime) and the concepts of topology thus become important in analysing local as well as global aspects of spacetime. The study of spacetime topology is especially important in physical cosmology.
Types of topology
There are two main types of topology for a spacetime M.
Path or Zeeman topology
It is the finest topology which induces the same topology as does on timelike curves.
A base for the topology is sets of the form for some point and some convex normal neighbourhood .
( denote the chronological past and future).
The Alexandrov topology on spacetime, is the coarsest topology such that both and are open for all subsets .
Here the base of open sets for the topology are sets of the form for some points .
Note that in mathematics, an Alexandrov topology on a partial order is usually taken to be the coarsest topology in which only the upper sets are required to be open. This topology goes back to Pavel Alexandrov.
Nowadays, the correct mathematical term for the Alexandrov topology on spacetime (which goes back to Alexandr D. Alexandrov) would be the interval topology, but when Kronheimer and Penrose introduced the term this difference in nomenclature was not as clear, and in physics the term Alexandrov topology remains in use.
- Zeeman, E. C. (1964). "Causality Implies the Lorentz Group". Journal of Mathematical Physics. 5 (4): 490–493. Bibcode:1964JMP.....5..490Z. doi:10.1063/1.1704140.
- Zeeman, E.C. (1967). "The topology of Minkowski space". Topology. 6 (2): 161–170. doi:10.1016/0040-9383(67)90033-X.
- Hawking, S. W.; King, A. R.; McCarthy, P. J. (1976). "A new topology for curved space–time which incorporates the causal, differential, and conformal structures" (PDF). Journal of Mathematical Physics. 17 (2): 174–181. Bibcode:1976JMP....17..174H. doi:10.1063/1.522874.