# Euler characteristic

## Topological invariant in mathematics / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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In mathematics, and more specifically in algebraic topology and polyhedral combinatorics, the **Euler characteristic** (or **Euler number**, 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 $\chi$ (Greek lower-case 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. It was stated for Platonic solids in 1537 in an unpublished manuscript by Francesco Maurolico.[1] Leonhard Euler, for whom the concept is named, introduced it for convex polyhedra more generally but failed to prove rigorously that it is an invariant. In modern mathematics, the Euler characteristic arises from homology and, more abstractly, homological algebra.