Transversality (mathematics)

Transversality (Mathematics)

Transversality (mathematics)

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In mathematics, transversality is a notion that describes how spaces can intersect; transversality can be seen as the "opposite" of tangency, and plays a role in general position. It formalizes the idea of a generic intersection in differential topology. It is defined by considering the linearizations of the intersecting spaces at the points of intersection.


Two submanifolds of a given finite dimensional smooth manifold are said to intersect transversally if at every point of intersection, their separate tangent spaces at that point together generate the tangent space of the ambient manifold at that point. Manifolds that do not intersect are vacuously transverse. If the manifolds are of complementary dimension (i.e., their dimensions add up to the dimension of the ambient space), the condition means that the tangent space to the ambient manifold is the direct sum of the two smaller tangent spaces. If an intersection is transverse, then the intersection will be a submanifold whose codimension is equal to the sums of the codimensions of the two manifolds. In the absence of the transversality condition the intersection may fail to be a submanifold, having some sort of singular point.

In particular, this means that transverse submanifolds of complementary dimension intersect in isolated points (i.e., a 0-manifold). If both submanifolds and the ambient manifold are oriented, their intersection is...
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