Gregory R. Conner, Curtis Kent
November 1, 2012
Abstract. We will show that the inverse limit of finite rank free groups with surjective connecting homomorphism is isomorphic either to a finite rank free group or to a fixed universal group. In other words, any inverse system of finite rank free groups which is not equivalent to an eventually constant system has the universal group as its limit. This universal inverse limit is naturally isomorphic to the first shape group of the Hawaiian earring. We also give an example of a homomorphic image of the Hawaiian earring group which lies in the inverse limit of free groups but is neither a free group nor isomorphic to the Hawaiian earring group.