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Comparison Geometry (Vergleichsgeometrie) (Summer Semester 2017)

Lecture: Friday 14:00-15:30 SR 2.59
Problem class: Wednesday 15:45-17:15 SR -1.013 (UG)
Lecturer, Problem classes PD Dr. Fernando Galaz-Garcia
Office hours: By appointment.
Room 1.016 Kollegiengebäude Mathematik (20.30)
Email: galazgarcia@kit.edu


The course provides a thorough introduction to comparison theory in Riemannian geometry:

What can be said about a complete Riemannian manifold when (mainly lower) bounds for the sectional or Ricci curvature are given? Starting from the comparison theory for the Riccati ODE which describes the evolution of the principal curvatures of equidistant hypersurfaces, we discuss the global estimates for volume and length given by Bishop-Gromov and Toponogov. An application is Gromov’s estimate of the number of generators of the fundamental group and the Betti numbers when lower curvature bounds are given. Using convexity arguments, we prove the ”soul theorem” of Cheeger and Gromoll and the sphere theorem of Berger and Klingenberg for nonnegative curvature. If lower Ricci curvature bounds are given we exploit subharmonicity instead of convexity and show the rigidity theorems of Myers-Cheng and the splitting theorem of Cheeger and Gromoll. The Bishop-Gromov inequality shows polynomial growth of finitely generated subgroups of the fundamental group of a space with nonnegative Ricci curvature (Milnor). We also discuss briefly Bochner’s method.

Homework sets


  • do Carmo, Manfredo Perdigão. Riemannian geometry. Translated from the second Portuguese edition by Francis Flaherty. Mathematics: Theory & Applications. Birkhäuser Boston, Inc., Boston, MA, 1992.
  • Cheeger, Jeff; Ebin, David G. Comparison theorems in Riemannian geometry. Revised reprint of the 1975 original. AMS Chelsea Publishing, Providence, RI, 2008.
  • J.-H. Eschenburg, "Comparison theorems in Riemannian Geometry" (figures here)