# Combinatorial realisation of cycles and small covers

### Alexander A. Gaifullin

Steklov Mathematical Institute, Moscow, Russian Federation

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## Abstract

In 1940s Steenrod asked if every homology class $z \in H_n(X; \mathbb Z)$ of every topological space $X$ can be realised by an image of the fundamental class of an oriented closed smooth manifold. Thom found a non-realisable 7-dimensional class and proved that for every $n$, there is a positive integer $k(n)$ such that the class $k(n)z$ is always realisable. The proof was by methods of algebraic topology and gave no information on the topology of the manifold which realises the homology class. We give a purely combinatorial construction of a manifold that realises a multiple of a given homology class. For every $n$, this construction yields a manifold $M^n_0$ with the following universality property: For any $X$ and $z \in H_n(X; \mathbb Z)$, a multiple of $z$ can be realised by an image of a (non-ramied) finite-sheeted covering of $M^n_0$ . Manifolds satisfying this property are called URC-manifolds. The manifold $M^n_0$ is a so-called small cover of the permutahedron, i. e., a manifold glued in a special way out of $2n$ permutahedra. (The permutahedron is a special convex polytope with $(n+1)$! vertices.) Among small covers over other simple polytopes, we find a broad class of examples of URC-manifolds. In particular, in dimension 4, we find a hyperbolic URC-manifold. Thus we prove a conjecture of Kotschick and Loh claiming that a multiple of every homology class can be realised by an image of a hyperbolic manifold. We also obtain some new results on the relationship of URC-manifolds with theory of simplicial volume.