MAGIC063: Differentiable Manifolds

Course details

A core MAGIC course


Autumn 2011
Monday, October 10th to Friday, December 16th


Live lecture hours
Recorded lecture hours
Total advised study hours


13:05 - 13:55
09:05 - 09:55


Welcome to MAGIC063.
Carsten Gundlach will lecture the first half and James Vickers the second.
The lecture plan and a full series of lecture notes from last year are online now. There will be small changes and corrections as we go along. The lectures will use only the electronic whiteboard. The slides will be uploaded immediately after each lecture for those who missed a lecture.
The first lecture begins at 1.05pm on Monday 10 October, as advertised. Please try to be online by 1.00pm so we can sort out any problems with the system and begin the lecture on time.
If you have any questions or suggestions now or during the course, please email us. We would love to hear from you. If you could just send us an email to tell us who you are that would be great.
See you soon.
Carsten and James


This is a MAGIC core course on differential geometry on manifolds, aimed at both pure and applied PhD students.
We begin with the basic ideas of differential geometry: manifolds, vectors and tensors, maps of manifolds, the Lie derivative, and connections. Our choice of further topics includes curvature, Riemannian geometry, differential forms and integration, cohomology, and symplectic geometry. This could be adjusted a bit depending on your comments.
We have a complete set of typed notes from last year (the first year the course ran). These may be updated and corrected during the course.
Most of the material in the course is covered by both Aubin, Lee/Lee or Schutz (see the Bibliography tab). Pure mathematicians may prefer Aubin or Lee/Lee, and applied mathematicians may prefer Schutz. You may want to own one of these three books. Warner is another good pure text, except that it does not cover connections. None of these books cover symplectic geometry, for which we use Berndt. Abraham/Marsden/Ratiu (does not cover connections) and Choquet-Bruhat/DeWitt-Morette/Dillard-Bleick are classic texts that can serve as background reading.
For lectures, we will use the electronic whiteboard. Screen shots will be saved on the website immediately after each lecture.
During the course of each lecture, we will suggest an exercise or two for you to do immediately. Other exercises can be found in the notes or the three recommended books.


Calculus of several variables (integration, implicit function theorem). Linear algebra (axioms of a vector space, linear operators, bases).
The differential geometry of curves and surfaces in 3-dimensional Euclidean space is neither a prerequisite nor part of the syllabus, but if you know some you will see how it fits in as a special case.


Manifolds, charts, partitions of unity.
Vector fields as tangents to curves and derivative operators. Lie bracket.
Covectors, tensors, bases. Abstract index and index-free notation.
Maps of manifolds, pull-back and push-forward.
Lie derivatives of scalar, vector, tensor fields.
Submanifolds. Statement of Frobenius theorem (for vector fields).
Connection as another way of taking a derivative of tensor fields. Geometric meaning: geodesics. Torsion.
Curvature of a connection. Geometric meaning: geodesic deviation.
Brief overview of principal fibre bundles, Lie groups, connections on fibre bundles.
Differential forms. Exterior product. Exterior derivative.
Exterior derivative and Lie derivative (Cartan's formula).
Integration of differential forms over (sub)manifolds. Metric volume form and Jacobi determinant. Stokes's theorem.
Poincare Lemma. De Rham cohomology, basic examples with partial proof. Statement of Poincare duality.
Symplectic geometry and Poisson brackets.


  • JV

    James Vickers

    University of Southampton
    Main contact
  • CG

    Dr Carsten Gundlach

    University of Southampton


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Assessment information will be available nearer the time.


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