I' looking for a symbol rendering the connected sum of $n$ topological spaces (or other quite strange topological operations) in a "product-like" manner... What For example in writing

{\Large{*}}_{i=1}^n G_i

for the free product of n groups. How can I render this with the # operation in topological spaces? (Yes, I'm studying Hatcher's AT...)

Edit: (Some mind-reading clarification by Willie)

The OP is not asking about how to use the * or \ast symbols, if I read him correctly. He is asking the following question:

How to define a (possibly variable size) math operator like \sum and \prod where the operator symbol is the octothorpe #, such that for in-line maths the upper and lower limits follow next to the symbol, and in \displaystyle with the upper and lower limits above and below the symbol?

This seems to be the referred part of Hatcher’s AG:

definition from Hatcher


5 Answers 5


The \mathop{..} command from amsmath makes its argument behave like a "large operator".


 \newcommand{\bigstar}{\mathop{\Huge \mathlarger{\mathlarger{*}}}}



 \[ \bigstar_{x}^{y} \]

 Inline: \( \bigstar_{x}^{y}\)

  • 2
    \mathop is a TeX primitive, not a amsmath command.
    – morbusg
    Dec 16, 2010 at 10:14
  • Thanks for the correction. I'm not sure why I thought that... perhaps I learned about it from the AMS math manual or something like that.
    – frabjous
    Dec 16, 2010 at 17:06
  • 1
    @frabjous -- two points: \mathop is indeed a primitive; it's used by amsmath (actually, amsopn) in the definition of \DeclareMathOperator. and the symbol shown in the edit to the question is \sharp, not a star. Dec 30, 2011 at 14:00

I'm not sure if the below code does what you want. At first I had the relsize package in mind, but it scaled the asterisk not big enough. So I come up with a possible solution that uses the graphicx package to do the job. The new operator needs at least amsmath (in this case loaded by mathtools) for its declaration.

\usepackage{mathtools}   % loads »amsmath«


    \name_{i=1}^n G_i

Since I didn't know how you want to call the new operator, I simply chose a trivial name. Rename as you like.

  • I am pretty sure the OP wants the # symbol instead of the \ast. Otherwise your answer is probably what he is looking for. Nov 7, 2010 at 14:46

You have some good answers for the procedure. The connected-sum symbol can be found in the mathabx package as \hash or \varhash. See “How to look up a math symbol?”.

  • 1
    Detexifiy doesn't give me neither \hash nor \varhash, but I am very grateful to everybody
    – fosco
    Nov 7, 2010 at 17:31
  • @tetrapharmakon: I didn't use detexify either. I just opened the symbols-letter.pdf and searched for "hash". At times I've just paged through it, too. Nov 7, 2010 at 17:34

How about \#? I think this is what you want.


I think you're looking for \ast:




    $F_i\connectedsum G_i$


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