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2023/24 Undergraduate Module Catalogue

MATH3113 Differential Geometry

15 creditsClass Size: 68

Module manager: Dr Gerasim Kokarev

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24


MATH2051Geometry of Curves and Surfaces

This module is mutually exclusive with

MATH5113MAdvanced Differential Geometry

This module is not approved as a discovery module

Module summary

The course builds on the prerequisite module MATH2051 (Curves and Surfaces). The central topic is a rigorous definition and study of higher dimensional surfaces in Euclidean spaces, also known as submanifolds. In particular, we focus on understanding the basics of calculus on surfaces, study geometric quantities that are invariant under the deformations of surfaces, and learn how to distinguish between intrinsic and extrinsic properties of surfaces.


On completion of this module, students should be able to:
(a) construct Euclidean isometries
(b) calculate rotation indices of plane curves
(c) recognise regularly homotopic curves
(d) recognize when a level set defines a surface and describe its properties
(e) compute the various curvature quantities of hypersurfaces in n-space
(f) understand and recognise properties of isometries
(g) appreciate the difference between intrinsic properties and extrinsic properties
(h) prove the major results of the module, where proofs have been given


To gain insights into the circle of ideas that we plan to develop, we first review and study the geometry of the Euclidean space and global theory of curves in Euclidean space. The central result in this part of the course is the Whitney-Graustein theorem; it says that two closed plane curves can be deformed into each other as soon as a single number (the so-called rotation index) is the same for both curves. We also see that this topological invariant (rotation index) is closely related to the geometry of curves.

We continue with the rigorous definition and study of higher dimensional surfaces in Euclidean spaces. In particular, we learn to view surfaces as level sets of functions, and meet the Regular Value Theorem. We also develop calculus on surfaces; for example, we give precise meaning to the notion of tangent space and learn how to differentiate maps between surfaces.

In the final part of the course, we introduce the notion of isometry between surfaces, and learn what properties of a surface are intrinsic, that is, can be measured by the inhabitants of the surface without going outside it. We generalize various notions of curvature to higher dimensional surfaces, and see that for example, principal curvatures are not intrinsic. This fact is contrasted with Theorema Egregium -- it says that the Gauss curvature, defined as a product of principal curvatures, of a 2-dimensional surface is intrinsic.

The covered topics include:
- Plane curves: regular homotopy, rotation index, and Whitney-Graustein theorem.
- Notion of a regular n-dimensional surface (submanifold) in Euclidean spaces.
- Surfaces as level sets and regular value theorem.
- Tangent spaces and differentials of maps between surfaces.
- Isometries; intrinsic and extrinsic properties of surfaces.
- Gauss map and curvature quantities.
- Theorema Egregium.

Further topics will be drawn from the following, or similar, as time allows:
- Geometry of Euclidean space; isometries and orthogonal transformations
- Space curves: congruence
- Curves on surfaces, geodesics
- Gauss-Bonnet theorem

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours118.00
Total Contact hours32.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

Studying and revising of course material.
Completing of assignments and assessments.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Regular problem sheets

Methods of assessment

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)2 hr 30 mins100.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)100.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

Last updated: 28/04/2023 14:54:41


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