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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.

© 1996-9 Eric W. Weisstein