Characteristic Class

Characteristic classes are cohomology classes in the base space of a vector bundle, defined through obstruction theory, which are (perhaps partial) obstructions to the existence of k everywhere linearly independent vector fields on the vector bundle. The most common examples of characteristic classes are the Chern, Pontryagin, and Stiefel-Whitney classes.

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Weisstein, Eric W. "Characteristic Class." From MathWorld--A Wolfram Web Resource.

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