Equivariant orientation theory, by S. R. Costenoble, J. P. May, and S. Waner

We give a long overdue theory of orientations of G-vector bundles, topological G-bundles, and spherical G-fibrations, where G is a compact Lie group. The notion of equivariant orientability is clear and unambiguous, but it is surprisingly difficult to obtain a satisfactory notion of an equivariant orientation such that every orientable G-vector bundle admits an orientation. Our focus here is on the geometric and homotopical aspects, rather than the cohomological aspects, of orientation theory. Orientations are described in terms of functors defined on equivariant fundamental groupoids of base G-spaces, and the essence of the theory is to construct an appropriate universal target category of G-vector bundles over orbit spaces G/H. The theory requires new categorical concepts and constructions that should be of interest in other subjects where analogous structures arise.


S. R. Costenoble <Steven.R.Costenoble@Hofstra.edu>
J. P. May <may@uchicago.edu>
S. Waner <matszw@hofstra.edu>