Given two graphs , draw them in the plane, in such a way that the drawings intersect in interior point of edges, and in such a way there are finitely many points of intersection. The intersection number of with respect to this drawing is the sum of the number of intersections reduced modulo two. Convince yourself this might depend on the way we draw . Define the self intersection number of with respect to a good drawing as above to be the sum of self intersections between non-adjacent edges. This might also depend on the drawing. Of course, a planar graph admits as its intersection number, but might also admit , as the canonical drawing of shows.
- Show that if are cycles, their intersection number is well defined, and is in fact zero.
- Suppose has the property that for any edge in the nonadjacent edges to form a cycle. Show that the self intersection number is well defined.
- Conclude that and are not planar by showing they have self intersection number equal to one and satisfy the condition above.