Riemannian geometry originated with the vision of
Bernhard Riemann expressed in his inaugural lecture "Ueber die Hypothesen, welche der Geometrie zu Grunde liegen" ("On the Hypotheses on which Geometry is Based").^{
[1]} It is a very broad and abstract generalization of the
differential geometry of surfaces in
R^{3}. Development of Riemannian geometry resulted in synthesis of diverse results concerning the geometry of surfaces and the behavior of
geodesics on them, with techniques that can be applied to the study of
differentiable manifolds of higher dimensions. It enabled the formulation of
Einstein's
general theory of relativity, made profound impact on
group theory and
representation theory, as well as
analysis, and spurred the development of
algebraic and
differential topology.
Introduction
Riemannian geometry was first put forward in generality by Bernhard Riemann in the 19th century. It deals with a broad range of geometries whose
metric properties vary from point to point, including the standard types of
non-Euclidean geometry.
There exists a close analogy of differential geometry with the mathematical structure of defects in regular crystals.
Dislocations and
disclinations produce torsions and curvature.^{
[2]}^{
[3]}
The following articles provide some useful introductory material:
What follows is an incomplete list of the most classical theorems in Riemannian geometry. The choice is made depending on its importance and elegance of formulation. Most of the results can be found in the classic monograph by
Jeff Cheeger and D. Ebin (see below).
The formulations given are far from being very exact or the most general. This list is oriented to those who already know the basic definitions and want to know what these definitions are about.
General theorems
Gauss–Bonnet theorem The integral of the Gauss curvature on a compact 2-dimensional Riemannian manifold is equal to 2πχ(M) where χ(M) denotes the
Euler characteristic of M. This theorem has a generalization to any compact even-dimensional Riemannian manifold, see
generalized Gauss-Bonnet theorem.
In all of the following theorems we assume some local behavior of the space (usually formulated using curvature assumption) to derive some information about the global structure of the space, including either some information on the topological type of the manifold or on the behavior of points at "sufficiently large" distances.
Sphere theorem. If M is a simply connected compact n-dimensional Riemannian manifold with sectional curvature strictly pinched between 1/4 and 1 then M is diffeomorphic to a sphere.
Cheeger's finiteness theorem. Given constants C, D and V, there are only finitely many (up to diffeomorphism) compact n-dimensional Riemannian manifolds with sectional curvature |K| ≤ C, diameter ≤ D and volume ≥ V.
Gromov's almost flat manifolds. There is an ε_{n} > 0 such that if an n-dimensional Riemannian manifold has a metric with sectional curvature |K| ≤ ε_{n} and diameter ≤ 1 then its finite cover is diffeomorphic to a
nil manifold.
Sectional curvature bounded below
Cheeger–Gromoll's
soul theorem. If M is a non-compact complete non-negatively curved n-dimensional Riemannian manifold, then M contains a compact, totally geodesic submanifold S such that M is diffeomorphic to the normal bundle of S (S is called the soul of M.) In particular, if M has strictly positive curvature everywhere, then it is
diffeomorphic to R^{n}.
G. Perelman in 1994 gave an astonishingly elegant/short proof of the Soul Conjecture: M is diffeomorphic to R^{n} if it has positive curvature at only one point.
Gromov's Betti number theorem. There is a constant C = C(n) such that if M is a compact connected n-dimensional Riemannian manifold with positive sectional curvature then the sum of its
Betti numbers is at most C.
Grove–Petersen's finiteness theorem. Given constants C, D and V, there are only finitely many homotopy types of compact n-dimensional Riemannian manifolds with sectional curvature K ≥ C, diameter ≤ D and volume ≥ V.
Sectional curvature bounded above
The Cartan–Hadamard theorem states that a complete
simply connected Riemannian manifold M with nonpositive sectional curvature is
diffeomorphic to the
Euclidean spaceR^{n} with n = dim M via the
exponential map at any point. It implies that any two points of a simply connected complete Riemannian manifold with nonpositive sectional curvature are joined by a unique geodesic.
The
geodesic flow of any compact Riemannian manifold with negative sectional curvature is
ergodic.
If M is a complete Riemannian manifold with sectional curvature bounded above by a strictly negative constant k then it is a
CAT(k) space. Consequently, its
fundamental group Γ = π_{1}(M) is
Gromov hyperbolic. This has many implications for the structure of the fundamental group:
Bochner's formula. If a compact Riemannian n-manifold has non-negative Ricci curvature, then its first Betti number is at most n, with equality if and only if the Riemannian manifold is a flat torus.
Splitting theorem. If a complete n-dimensional Riemannian manifold has nonnegative Ricci curvature and a straight line (i.e. a geodesic that minimizes distance on each interval) then it is isometric to a direct product of the real line and a complete (n-1)-dimensional Riemannian manifold that has nonnegative Ricci curvature.
Bishop–Gromov inequality. The volume of a metric ball of radius r in a complete n-dimensional Riemannian manifold with positive Ricci curvature has volume at most that of the volume of a ball of the same radius r in Euclidean space.
Cheeger, Jeff; Ebin, David G. (2008), Comparison theorems in Riemannian geometry, Providence, RI: AMS Chelsea Publishing; Revised reprint of the 1975 original.
Jost, Jürgen (2002), Riemannian Geometry and Geometric Analysis, Berlin: Springer-Verlag,
ISBN3-540-42627-2.
Petersen, Peter (2006), Riemannian Geometry, Berlin: Springer-Verlag,
ISBN0-387-98212-4
From Riemann to Differential Geometry and Relativity (Lizhen Ji, Athanase Papadopoulos, and Sumio Yamada, Eds.) Springer, 2017, XXXIV, 647 p.
ISBN978-3-319-60039-0