Geometric topology may roughly be described as the branch of the topology of manifolds which deals with questions of the existence of homeomorphisms. Only in fairly recent years has this sort of topology achieved a sufficiently high development to be given a name, but its beginnings are easy to identify. The first classic result was the SchOnflies theorem (1910), which asserts that every 1-sphere in the plane is the boundary of a 2-cell. In the next few decades, the most notable affirmative results were the “Schonflies theorem” for polyhedral 2-spheres in space, proved by J. W. Alexander [Ad, and the triangulation theorem for 2-manifolds, proved by T. Rad6 [Rd. But the most striking results of the 1920s were negative.
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