Algebra Applied Mathematics Calculus and Analysis Discrete Mathematics ... Rowland, Todd Manifold A manifold is a topological space that is locally Euclidean (i.e., around every point, there is a neighborhood that is topologically the same as the open unit ball in ). To illustrate this idea, consider the ancient belief that the Earth was flat as contrasted with the modern evidence that it is round. The discrepancy arises essentially from the fact that on the small scales that we see, the Earth does indeed look flat. In general, any object that is nearly "flat" on small scales is a manifold, and so manifolds constitute a generalization of objects we could live on in which we would encounter the round/flat Earth problem, as first codified by Poincaré. More concisely, any object that can be "charted" is a manifold. One of the goals of topology is to find ways of distinguishing manifolds. For instance, a circle is topologically the same as any closed loop, no matter how different these two manifolds may appear. Similarly, the surface of a coffee mug with a handle is topologically the same as the surface of the donut, and this type of surface is called a (onehandled) torus As a topological space , a manifold can be compact or noncompact, and  
