## 4.11.2009

### Euler characteristic - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia - Sent Using Google Toolbar

Euler characteristic - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

# Euler characteristic

In mathematics, and more specifically in algebraic topology and polyhedral combinatorics, the Euler characteristic (or Euler-Poincaré characteristic) is a topological invariant, a number that describes a topological space's shape or structure regardless of the way it is bent. It is commonly denoted by χ (Greek letter chi).

The Euler characteristic was originally defined for polyhedra and used to prove various theorems about them, including the classification of the Platonic solids. Leonhard Euler, for whom the concept is named, was responsible for much of this early work. In modern mathematics, the Euler characteristic arises from homology and connects to many other invariants.