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Transactions of the American Mathematical Society

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ISSN 1088-6850 (online) ISSN 0002-9947 (print)

The 2020 MCQ for Transactions of the American Mathematical Society is 1.43.

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Transverse LS category for Riemannian foliations
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by Steven Hurder and Dirk Töben PDF
Trans. Amer. Math. Soc. 361 (2009), 5647-5680 Request permission


We study the transverse Lusternik-Schnirelmann category theory of a Riemannian foliation $\mathcal {F}$ on a closed manifold $M$. The essential transverse category $\operatorname {cat}^e_{\cap {\mkern -9mu}\mid }(M,\mathcal {F})$ is introduced in this paper, and we prove that $\operatorname {cat}^e_{\cap {\mkern -9mu}\mid }(M,\mathcal {F})$ is always finite for a Riemannian foliation. Necessary and sufficient conditions are derived for when the usual transverse category $\operatorname {cat}_{\cap {\mkern -9mu}\mid }(M,\mathcal {F})$ is finite, and thus $\operatorname {cat}^e_{\cap {\mkern -9mu}\mid }(M,\mathcal {F}) = \operatorname {cat}_{\cap {\mkern -9mu}\mid }(M,\mathcal {F})$ holds.

A fundamental point of this paper is to use properties of Riemannian submersions and the Molino Structure Theory for Riemannian foliations to transform the calculation of $\operatorname {cat}^e_{\cap {\mkern -9mu}\mid }(M,\mathcal {F})$ into a standard problem about $\mathbf O(q)$-equivariant LS category theory. A main result, Theorem 1.6, states that for an associated $\mathbf O(q)$-manifold $\widehat W$, we have that $\operatorname {cat}^e_{\cap {\mkern -9mu}\mid }(M,\mathcal {F}) = \operatorname {cat}_{\mathbf O(q)}(\widehat W)$. Hence, the traditional techniques developed for the study of smooth compact Lie group actions can be effectively employed for the study of the LS category of Riemannian foliations.

A generalization of the Lusternik-Schnirelmann theorem is derived: given a $C^1$-function $f \colon M \to \mathbb {R}$ which is constant along the leaves of a Riemannian foliation $\mathcal {F}$, the essential transverse category $\operatorname {cat}^e_{\cap {\mkern -9mu}\mid }(M,\mathcal {F})$ is a lower bound for the number of critical leaf closures of $f$.

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Additional Information
  • Steven Hurder
  • Affiliation: Department of Mathematics, University of Illinois at Chicago, 322 SEO (m/c 249), 851 S. Morgan Street, Chicago, Illinois 60607-7045
  • MR Author ID: 90090
  • ORCID: 0000-0001-7030-4542
  • Email:
  • Dirk Töben
  • Affiliation: Mathematisches Institut, Universität zu Köln, Weyertal 86-90, 50931 Köln, Germany
  • Email:
  • Received by editor(s): October 4, 2006
  • Published electronically: June 16, 2009
  • Additional Notes: The first author was supported in part by NSF grant DMS-0406254
    The second author was supported by the Schwerpunktprogramm SPP 1154 of the DFG
  • © Copyright 2009 American Mathematical Society
  • Journal: Trans. Amer. Math. Soc. 361 (2009), 5647-5680
  • MSC (2000): Primary 57R30, 53C12, 55M30; Secondary 57S15
  • DOI:
  • MathSciNet review: 2529908