## Behavior of Homotopy Groups with respect to Products

This blog post is on the behavior of homotopy groups with respect to products. Proposition 4.2 of Hatcher:

For a product $\prod_\alpha X_\alpha$ of an arbitrary collection of path-connected spaces $X_\alpha$ there are isomorphisms $\pi_n(\prod_\alpha X_\alpha)\cong\prod_\alpha \pi_n(X_\alpha)$ for all $n$.

The proof given in Hatcher is a short one: A map $f:Y\to \prod_\alpha X_\alpha$ is the same thing as a collection of maps $f_\alpha: Y\to X_\alpha$. Taking $Y$ to be $S^n$ and $S^n\times I$ gives the result.

A possible alternative proof is to first prove that $\pi_n(X_1\times X_2)\cong\pi_n(X_1)\times\pi_n(X_2)$, which is the result for a product of two spaces. The general result then follows by induction.

We construct a map $\psi:\pi_n(X_1\times X_2)\to\pi_n(X_1)\times\pi_n(X_2)$, $\psi([f])=([f_1],[f_2])$.

Notation: $f:S^n\to X_1\times X_2$, $f_1=p_1\circ f:S^n\to X_1$, $f_2=p_2\circ f:S^n\to X_2$ where $p_i:X_1\times X_2\to X_i$ are the projection maps.

We can show that $\psi ([f]+[g])=\psi([f])+\psi([g])$, thus $\psi$ is a homomorphism.

We can also show that $\psi$ is bijective by constructing an explicit inverse, namely $\phi:\pi_n(X_1)\times\pi_n(X_2)\to\pi_n(X_1\times X_2)$, $\phi([g_1],[g_2])=[g]$ where $g:S^n\to X_1\times X_2$, $g(x)=(g_1(x),g_2(x))$.

Thus $\psi$ is an isomorphism. 