For each 2x2 integer matrix with determinant +/-1 is there a homeomorphism of the 2 torus so that the the induced map on the first homology group is multiplication by this matrix?
Yeah, there is a map from the mapping class group of the torus (the homeomorphism group mod isotopy) to SL(2, Z) that is an isomorphism. You map a guy in the mapping class group to the guy in SL(2, Z) that is the induced map on homology. The surjectivity of this map gives you what you want.
One way to see the surjectivity is that the guy in SL(2, Z) induces a homeomorphism on the universal cover, R^2 (or ℂ), that descends to a homeomorphism downstairs (the deck transformations are integers translations, which commute with the linear maps from SL(2,Z) up to integer translations). A guy (p,q) in the lattice upstairs, with p and q relatively prime corresponds to p, q in homology (homology is the same as the fundamental group, here). So, you can map (1,0) to any such vector upstairs, and map (0,1) to a complementary vector. So, you can get anybody in SL(2,Z) that way.
You can get injectivity from the fact that the torus is an Eilenberg-Maclane space.
i am still puzzled why it isn't obviously given by the same matrix. i.e. given an integer matrix with determinant one, it maps the integer lattice in R^2 isomorphically to itself. As a 2by 2 real matrix it aldo maps the plane R^2 isomorphically to itself, hence it maps the quotient space T = R^2/Z^2, namely the two torus, isomorphically and homeomorphically, onto itself.
Since H^1 of the quotient space R^2/Z^2 is the integer lattice Z^2 itself, the map on H^1(T,Z) is given by the original matrix.
isn't this obvious? or is it wrong for some reason? I.e. it seems very elementary and concrete.
I was interested in this because I was wondering what closed three manifolds you could get by gluing two solid tori together. Since one of the first homology generators of the torus is null homologous in the solid torus, the resulting manifold's homology would be determined easily from the gluing homeomorphism and Van Kampen's Theorem(meyer vietoris sequence also).
A reversal of first homology generators would yield a simply connected manifold so it is a three sphere. The identity on homology would yield a manifold with first homology group the integers and which has an orientation reversing involution that covers two solid Klein bottles glued together.
The map which takes the null homologous generator to itself plus twice the non null homologous generator would yield a manifold with first homology equal to Z2 so I guess it must be projective space.
I don't follow. The identity map should also give S^3.