LLO ZIPPIN
Random House
$1.95
New Mathematical Library
bb O1 1^11^13
by
Leo Zippin
QuccnsUollcyc
RANDOM HOUSE
Illustrations by Carl Bass
First Printing
T Copyright, 192, by Yale University
All rights rserved under International and PanAmerican Copyright
Conventions. Published in New York by Random House, Inc., and
simultaneously in Toronto, Canada, by Random House of Canada, Limited.
School Edition Published by The L. W. Singer Company.
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 6112187
Manufactured in the United States of America
Note to the Reader
_his book is one of a series written by professional mathematicians
in order to make some impor tant mathematical idea interesting
and understandable to a large audience of high school students and
laymen. Most of the volumes in the NeuMat/emattca/Ltmaqcover
topics not usually included in the high school curriculum; they vary
in difculty, and, even within a single book, some par ts require a
grater degree of concentration than others. Thus, while the reader
needs little technical knowledge to understand most of these books,
he will have to make an intellectual efort.
If t he reader has so far encountered mathematics only in classroom
wor k, he should keep in mind that a book on mathematics cannot be
read quickly. Nor must he expect to unders tand all par ts of the book
on frst reading. He should feel free to skip complicated par ts and
return to them later ; often an argument will be clarifed by a subs
quent remark. On the other hand, sections containing thoroughly
familiar material may be read very quickly.
The best way to lear n mathematics is to domathematics, and each
book includes problems, some of which may require considerable
thought. The reader is urged to acquire the habit of r eading with
paper and pencil in hand; in this way mathematics will become in
creaingly meaningful to him.
For the authors and editors this is a new venture. They wish to
acknowledge the gener ous help given them by the many high school
teachers and students who assisted in the preparation of thes mono
graphs
. The editors are interested in reactions to the books in this
series and hope that readers will wr ite to: Editor ial Committee of the
NML ser ies, in care of THE INSTITUTE OE MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES,
NEW YORK UNIVERSITY, New Yor k 3, N. Y.
The Editors
v
NEW MATHEMATICAL LIBRARY
0t/erttt/esut//eanncunc0 remq
. NUMBERS: RATIONAL AND IRRATIONAL by Ivan Niven
2. WHAT IS CALCULUS ABOUT? by W. W. Sawyer
3. INTRODUCTION TO INEQUALITIES by E. Beckenbach
and R. Bellman
4. GEOMETRIC INEQUALITIES by N. D. Kazarinof
5.
THE CONTEST PROBLEM BOOK, Problems from the Annual
Hig School Contests of the Mathematical Assciation of America,
compiled and with solutions by Charles T. Salkind
0. THE LORE OF LARGE NUMBERS by P. J. Davis
7
.
USES OF INFINITY by Lo Zippin
8. GEOMETRIC TRANSFORMATIONS by I. M. Yaglom, trans
lated from the Russian by Allen Shields
vi
Contents
Preface J
Chapter 1 Popular and Mathematical Infnities 5
Chapter 2
From Natural Numbrs to V2 14
Chapter J From V2 to the Transfnite J8
Chapter 4 ZigZags: To the Limit u the Limit Exists 59
Chapter 5 The Self Perpetuating Golden Rectangle 7 5
Chapter 6 Constructions and Proofs 96
Solutions to Problems
12 1
Bibliography
150
v
USES OF INFINITY
Preface
Most of this book is designed so a to make little demand on the
reader's technical comptence in mathematics; he may b a high
school student bginning his mathematics now or one who ha put
away and forgotten much of what he once knew. On the other hand,
the book is mathematical except for the frst chapterthat is to say,
it is a carefully reaoned presentation of somewhat abstract idea.
The reader who fnds the material interesting must b prepared,
therefore, to work for it a little, usually by thinking things through
for himslf now and then and occaionally by doing some of the prob
lems listed. Solutions to some of these are given at the end of the
book. But it will not pay the reader to stop too long at any one
place; many of the idea are repated later on, and he may fnd that
a scond view of them leads to understanding where a frst view wa
bafing. This style of presentation is imposed upon an author by
the nature of mathematics. It is not possible to say at once all of the
key remarks which explain a mathematical idea.
Many a reader is prhap wondering whether it is possible for
fellow human bings to communicate upon a topic as remotesounding
a "uses of infnity"; but, a we shall % any two people who know
the whole numbrs,
1, 2 , 3, 4, 5,
can talk to each other about "infnities" and have a great deal to say.
I have written this book from a point of view voiced in a remark
by David Hilbrt when he defned mathematics a "the science of
infnity". An interesting theorem of mathematics difers from in
tersting results in other felds bcaus over and above the surpris
and bauty of what it says, it ha "an apect of eternity"; it is always
part of an infnite chain of results. The following illustrates what I
mean: the fact that 1 + 3 + 5 + 7 + 9, the sum of the frst fve
odd integers, is equal to 5 times 5 is an interesting oddity; but the
3
4 US ES OF I NF I NI TY
theorm that fo a// n the sum of the frst n odd integers is n
2
is
mathematics.
I hop that the reader will believe me when I say that professional
mathematicians do not profess to understand better than anybody
els what, from a philosophical point of view, may be called "the
meaning of infnity". This is proved, I think, by the fact that most
mathematicians do not talk about this kind of question, and that
thos who do, do not agree.
Finally, I wish to express my espcial thanks to Mrs. Henrietta
Mazen, a teacher of mathematics at the Bronx High School of Science,
who slectd and edited the material in this monograph from a
larger body of material that I had prpared. The reader who enjoys
this book should know that in this way a considerable role was played
in it by Mrs. Mazen. I am also indebted to Miss Arlys Stritzel who
supplied most of the solutions to the problems posd in the book.
C HA P T E R O NE
Popular and Mathematical Infnities
One who has not worked in the mathematical sciences is likely to
doubt that there is any H of infnity if "to H something means to
acquir some form of control over it. But the H of infnity in pre
cisly this sns constitutes the profession of mathematicians.
Other professions also H infnity somewhat
.
The architect and
the engineer have their tables of trigonometric functions, logarithms,
and the like. But they do not need to remember that these are calcu
lated from a large number of terms of certain appropriate infnite
sries. They draw frely from an inexhaustible resrvoir of mathe
matical curves and surfaces, but they do not need to be conscious of
infnities. The philosopher and theologian are conscious of infnity,
but from the mathematician's view they do not H it so much as
admir it.
t
r x x
7
Figure 1
.1. sin x = x

q == q ...
6 12 5
5
6 US ES O F I NF I NI T Y
The mathematician also admirs infnity; the grat David Hilbertt
said of it that in all ages this thought has stirrd man's imagination
most profoundly, and he described the work of G. Cantort as intro
ducing man to the Paradis of the Infnite. But the mathematician
also uses infnities and, as the next two chapters will show, he is the
world's greatest collector of infnitiesinfnitely many arrays of
infnities of all typs and magnitudes. They are his raw materials and
also his tools.
Befor turning to mathematics, let U spnd a moment with some
examples of the popular "everyday" infnities which, as we shall S,
are not too distantly rlated to the mathematical infnities. We begin
with a folksaying: "Ther ar always two possibilities." Lt U her
call them "Zero" and "One". Since each choice made brings two
new alternatives, this suggests the pictur of infnity shown in Figur
1 .2 .
Figure 1 .2. There are always two possibilities
Figure 1 .3. An imitation of infnity
t David Hilbert (1 821943) wa one of the leading mathematicians of the
twentieth century
.
t G. Cantor (18451918) created set thery.
P OP UL AR AND MATHEMATI CAL INF I NI TI ES 7
Next, many pople can rcall a certain box of baking soda on which,
in their youths, they saw their frst pictur of infnity. This box hag
on it a picture of a box on which there was a pictur of the same box
showing another, and so on. Figur I.J conveys the imprssion this
gave.
Next, ther ar intimations of infnity designed espcially for
children. Japanes artisans make wooden dolls that opn up and
contain a similar doll, inside of which there is another doll and so on
through a squence of fve or six.
Also, pots have employed the word in ways that are not far
rmoved from mathematical aspcts of infnity. Juliet's line about
her Jove for Romeo, "the mor I give U thee, the mor I have",
exaggerates a characteristic proprty of cardinal infnities; to Blake's
image, "To hold infnity in the palm of your hand and eternity in an
hour", corresponds the mathematical fact that a sgment as short as
the palm's "lifeline" has as many points on it as the infnitely long
line. In Anthcnq am C/ecatra, General Enobarbus describes,
Cleopatra: "Time cannot wither nor custom stale her infnite variety."
Hugo describes Shakespare: "Genius is a promontory jutting into
the infnite."
In a lighter vein, Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac, among other
fanciful schemes for going to the moon, uss a jocular version of
mathematical induction: "I stand on a platform holding a strong
magnet which I hurl upwards. The platform follows. I catch the
magnet and hurl it up again, the platform following, and repating
this in stages, I ascend to the moon."
Very instructive are the metaphysical arguments of Zeno t dircted
to the conclusion that physical motion is impossible. He is quoted
somewhat as follows: "Achilles cannot overtake a feeing tortois
because in the interval of time that he takes to get to where the
tortois was, it can move away. But even if it should wait for him
Achilles must frst reach the halfway mark between them and he
cannot do this unless he frst raches the halfway mark to that mark,
and so on indefnitely. Against such an infnite conceptual rgrssion
he cannot even make a start, and so motion is impossible." Another
prtty paradox of Zeno tries to show that it is impossible that space
and time should nct be infnitely divisible. Still another is usually
quoted this way: "The moving arrow is at each instant at rest."
t A Greek philosopher of the Eleatic school who lived in the ffth century,
M..
8 US ES O F INF INI T Y
These paradoxes deal with an important application of mathematical
infnities and desrve to be discussd here, the mor so becaus the
movingarrow paradox is a neat formulation of the mathematical
concept of motion. A mttan is analogous to a timetable; mor
prcisely, it is a ]uncttan which associates a defnite point in fctional
"space" to each of certain moments in a fctional "time". From this
point of view, the statement that the arrow is "at rst" at a given
instant means that its position is defned; this gives the function.
Functions defning a motion can be constructed like any other
mathematical functions, that is to say by a suitable table of values,
by a formula, or by a recursive description.
If Zeno's tortois starts one foot ahead of Achilles and moves
1 1 1 1
2
+
4
+ 8 +
16
+
.  .
feet
(which is prcisly one foot) in
1 1 1 1
2
+
4
+ 8 +
16
+
 
,
seconds
(which is precisly one scond), while Achilles moves
1 1 1 1
1 +
2
+
4
+ 8 +
16
+
 ..
feet
(which is prcisly two feet) in
1 1 1 1 1
2
+
4
+ 8 +
16
+
32
+
. .
seconds
(which is prcisly one scond), then the race is ended in one scond.
Befor the work of Eudoxus (350 B.C.) and of Archimedes ( 150
B.C.) thes infnite sries could not be understood. In the sventeenth
century with the development of the calculus, the logic of infnite
sries had to be rediscovered. These sertesare probably not needed to
"answer" Zeno, but they meet him very nicely on his own grounds.
1 1
eg
9'
8'
1 1 1 1 1 1
7' 6' 5' 4' 3' 2'
1
Figure 1 .4
The scond of Zeno's pardoxes derives some of its interest frm
the fact that between every pair of points on a line there is another
point. It follows that a sgment contains an infnite descendtnq
squence, that is to say an ordered sequence of points without a
smallest term. The example in Figure 1 .4 shows this; the fractions of
P OP UL AR AND MA THE MA TI C A L INF I NI TI ES 9
the form lJn, arranged in the order of size, have no term that
precdes all the others. No corrsponding squence exists in the st of
whole numbers. It is likely that Zeno was entirely concerned with the
prblem which confronts applied mathematicians: that mathematics
is an idealization of exprience not necessarily "true to life". Nowher
is this more evident than in the simple fact that the geometric sgment
is infnitely divisible, but the matter in a material wire is not. Of
course, this fact was not so convincingly established in Zeno's time
as it is in our own. Nonetheless, in our time as in his, the mathe
matical segment srves as a model for many spcifc problems dealing
with material bodies (vibrating strings, fexible beams, rigid bodies).
Above all it serves as the model for the ttmeccnttnuum and the one
dimensional saeccnttnuum, and in this U it dominates our con
ception of the world about us.
lim
+
` = lim .+ = .+ lim = 1
@w @m @m
Figure 1 . 5
. A mathematical formulation of an everyday observation: Two
friendsone four years older than the otherappear to approach the same age
a the year pas
Finally let U look at a pair of everyday examples which have the
favor of mathematics. Anyone who has a friend several years older
than himslf notices how the passage of time thins out the diference
between the two ages. We have her an example of a pair of variables
whos difernce is constant but whos ratio is not; in this example,
the ratio approaches 1.
If
and
then
and
C denotes the cost
S denotes the slling price,
S  C
C
is eruntt rqtcn
ccst,
S  C
S
IS er umt t cn
sales re.
If
and
then
and
Figure 1.6
it costs & to produce a
sweater,
it is sold for $12
12 8 1
=
2
is rc]tcnccst,
12  8 1
.
12
=
a
lS rc]tcnsa/es
re
10 US ES OF INF INI T Y
The last example is drawn from commerce. When an object is
bought for $1 and sold for $2 , there is a 10 pr cent proft if proft is
fgured on the purchae price ; but ther is a 50 pr cent proft if this
is fgurd on the slling price. An object can be sold at an arbitrarily
large prcentage proft on the purchase price, and it can b sold at
99 pr cent or 99.99 pr cent proft on the selling price, but it cannot,
practically or theoretically, be sold at a 10 pr cent proft on the
slling price. The reader should persuade himslf of this because it is
a natural example of a situation in which one might be led to wonder
about a "limit" which does not exist. Perhaps the easiest way to
check on this particular problem is to try diferent selling prices.
Lt us now turn to the uss of infnity in mathematics. It will help
the reader to think of thes as falling into four categories.
The frst category is illustrated by the theorem of geometry: If tuc
stdescJatrtanq/eare eua/the the aseanq/esareeua/( Proposition 5,
Book I of Euclid) .
PROOF. Given that AC = BC
;
t see Figur 1.7
.
Comparing the
triangle ABC with itself, but rading it next as BAC, we fnd
that AC = BC and 4ACB = 4BCA. Therefore, by Propsition
Book I of Euclid, angle CAB must equal angle CBA.
,
 s
Figure 1 .7
This proof that the base angles of an isosceles triangle are equal
amounts to suprimposing the triangle on itslf so that A goes
into B, B into A, and C into C.
The statement and proof depnding on a proposition often referred
to as "two sides and the included angle", or "s.a.s." ( meaning "side
t The statement AC = C means that the lengths of the line seg
ments AC and BC are equal . In many books, the distance from a point P to
a point Q is denoted by JQ, but for reasons of typography it will simply be
denoted by PQ in this book.
P OP UL AR AND MATHEMATI C AL I N F I N I TI E S 1 1
angleside") make no mention of infnities. But the class of isosceles
triangles (of all shaps and sizes) is an infnite class and the theorem
holds for ever one of them.
Figure 1 .8. Pascal 's Triangle. The nth row of this array gives the coef
cients that occur in the expansion of (a + b)
n
The second category is illustrated by certain numbers, the
"binomial coefcients", known to the Pythagoreans and to earlier
civilizations, but associated with Pascal ( 1620) becaus of his use of
mathematical induction in discussing them
.
The binomial coefcients,
we recall, ar the coefcients that occur when a binomial a + is
multiplied by itslf n times. For example, when n = 3, we have
(a + )

= a

+ 3a
t
+ 3a
t
+

,
and the binomial coefcients are 1 , 3, 3, 1. Since n may be any
positive whole number, we have an explicit infnity of cases, each of
which involves a fnite collection which we are invited to count.
The problem of fnding a tangent line to a given curve at a point
on the curve belongs to the third category. It is easy to se that this
problem is associated with an infnite process, because tangency of a
line to a curve can be determined by using arbitrarily small pieces of
the curve and small segments of the line. It turns out that the mathe
matical process which solves this problem also solves the physical
problem of defning tnstantanecus e/ccttq, this is briefy spaking the
number read on an automobile
'
s spedometer. Velocity of motion and
slop of a line are /tmttsof rattcs
Figure 1 .9
. Tangency at a point is a local afai r
12 US ES O F INF INI T Y
trr
1h]h lh
P
t
Figure 1 . 10. The Blope of the tangent line (ratio QR/PR) is the limit of the
slope of the chord (ratio QR'/PR') W the point Q' approaches P along the
curve
The fourth category belongs to abstract st theory and is concered
with infnite cardinal numbers
.
It is strikingly illustrated by the
paradox that a circle can sem to have mor points on it than the
infnite line. Figure 1 . 1 1 shows this. Each point of the line is paird
of against a point on the lower smicircle
.
Even if we match two
points of the circle to one on the line ther ar still points (P and
Q) left over.
 s
, + :
Figure 1 . 1 1
How infnity i s handled i n each of thes cases i s discusd through
out this book but can be described briefy 8 follows: To handle the
frst typ, we U a single rpresntative object; since it is in nowis
spcial, it srves equally well for all. Problems of the scond typ ar
usually handled like the frst but sometimes fall into a patter that
can be treated by mathematical induction, or the essntially equiva
lent "principle of infnite descent", also equivalent to the "principle
of the frst integer", 8 we shall se.
POP U L A R AN D MA T HEM A TI C A L I N F I N I T I E S 13
The third category includes a diversity of infnite processs asso
ciated with the notion of "limit". We shall study only one such process
leading to a defnition of /eqth of certain fgures; this i n turn leads
to a defnition of the sum of an infnite sries.
Although the summation of infnite sries is closely related to the
problem of defning ( and calculating) the area bounded by a given
closd curve, we shall not deal with ara or with the earlier mentioned
problem of tangency. We refer the rader to a good calculus book
(se also Courant and Robbi ns, Bhat u Matheatsf New York:
Oxford University Press, 1941) .
Problems i n the fourth category called for the invention of a new
typ of mathematical rasoning and waited for the genius of Cantor.
The arguments which Cantor employed are straightforward gener
alizations of the ordi nary processes of counting, but he used them
boldlyapplying them directly to infnite sts. Perhaps his greatest
single discovery was the fact that there are diferent cardinal infnities
and that, in particular, the set of points on a linesgment is an
incomparably "richer" i nfnity than the st of all whole numbers.
This and other aspcts of his work wi ll be touched on in Chapters 2
and 6.
The book will clos with some i ndications of the way in which this
last aspct of infnity has been incorporated into the mai n mathe
matical stream of uses of infnity
.
C H A P T E R T W O
From Natural Numbers to
The main body of this chapter consists of a parade of short sec
tions each of which concers itself with some particular infnite set,
infnite process, or point of view or technique for controlling infnity.
We have tried to treat each of these separately, a much as possible ;
however, the frst section begins with three infnities!
2.1 Natural Numbers
At the head of the parade of infnities, set of from the others,
come the ordinary numbers. We are not going to be able to con
struct infnite sets, or prove anything signifcant about them, unless
somehow we start with at least one infnite set, already constructed
for us. Such a set exists, namely the ordinary numbers: 1, 2, 3,
4, , 0,
. .
, and so on. Concering these, often called natura/
numers, we are free to assume the following facts:
a) Each natural number has an immediate successor, so that the
procession continues without end.
b) Ther is no repetition; each number is diferent from all the
preceding numbers.
c) Every whole number can be reached in a ]ntte number of steps
by starting at 1 and counting up, one at a time, through the
line of successors.
14
FROM NATURAL N UMB E RS TO v 15
2.2 Discussion of Sequences
Since all numbers in the set of natural numbers cannot be written
in a fnite time we use "
. . .
", that is, suspnse dots or iteration
dots, usually just three of them; they correspond to the words "and
so on" or "et cetera", or "and so forth". They are used in mathe
matics following a short sequence of terms to mean that the indicated
set is nonterminating and that the sequence is constructed according
to a transparent scheme. The following examples will show what is
meant ; the rader is invited to put in the next few terms in each case.
I, 4, 7, I0, I3,
, 3, , 3, , 3,
, 3, 7, 4. I0, 0, I4,
I, I, 2, 3, , 8, I3, 2I, 34,
3, 0, 9, I2, I,
3, 9, 27. 8I, 243,
6, 3% , 2I % , I29, ,
2, 3,
The rule
can also be expressed in a convenient formula. Lt n designate the
number of the term we seek and let us call this term a

( read it:
'asub n"). Then
a

" y
n(n + 1)(n + 2)
However, this is by no means an obvious formula and it is possible
to get the frst fve terms by the use of many other formulas which
would give diferent later terms. Therefore, in order really to know
what sries is meant in iv), one requires the explicit rule above.
Whether this rule is expressed in words or by a nice formula is not
important.
We can summarize our discussion symbolically by writing
a

= f ( n)
where a

denotes the nth term of a sequence, that is, the object
which replaces the numbr n in ( I), and the symbol f (n) denotes
the rule for fnding a

, whether it is written as a formula or in
words.
Thus in cases i) to iii) :
i) f ( n) = a

, n = I , 2, 3,
. . .
,
r
for n "
I, 4, 7,
4I4
or T "
3 I4I0
FROM NA TURA L N UMB ERS TO V2 17
means that v and T ( pronounced "pie") are not fnite decimals,
and that they bgin as shown. The reader will b able U tell the
meaning of the dots from the context.
Problems
Comment on the following uses of ..
.
":
2.1
.
solos, duets, trios, quartets,
. . .
.
2
.
2. singles, doubles, triples, home runs,
.
..
.
2.3. twins, triplets, quadruplets,
. . .
.
2
.
4. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday,
.
.
.
.
2
.
5. M, T, W, T, F, S, S, M, T, W,
. . .
.
2.3 Cardinals and Ordinals
The frst member of our parade, the set of natural numbrs, is
connected with the next two infnite sets in the procession. The three
infnite sets are :
a) The totality of whole numbers :
one, two, three, four, fve, six,
. . .
b) The collection of "rules" binding each to its successor :
one and one is two,
two and one is three,
three and one is four,
. . . _
c) The aggregate of ordinal numbers :
frst, second, third, fourth, ffth, sixth,
. . .
.
The set a) being given to us, b) is a record of observations which
we make on some and believe about all of the members of a) . Be
cause the rules are so transparently repetitive, they suggest that
we can survey all of a) in our minds even though we can only exhibit
a few of its members to our eyes. By making us conscious of the natu
ral ordering of the whole numbers, the set c) hints at how these can
b brought under our control, to some extent.
2.4 Arithmetic Sequences
The auqmentednatura/numers0, I, 2, 3, 4, are obtained
by putting zero in front of the sequence of ordinary whole numbers.
We shall also call them ncnneqattre tnteqers, or simply tnteqers.
18 US ES O F I NF I NI T Y
If we begin with zero and writ every second number theraftr,
we get the sequence of the even integers :
0, 2, , U,
8,
EVEN;
and if we begin with I and write every second numbr thereaftr,
we get the mintegers :
I , 3, , 7, 0, ODD
.
A little thought will convince us that every natural number be
longs to one or the other ( not both) of these two sets: Every number
is either even or odd. It will be useful to us to say this a little mor
elaborately: Every integer is of the form twotimessomeinteger
cr it is of the form onemorethantwotimessomeinteger. Using
convenient letters in place of words, we writ: Every intger is of
the form
n

2
where is an integer
.
or n = ++ 2
Similarly, counting by threes, we fnd that every integer is of the
form
n

3
,here is B integer.
or n

I + 3
Problem
or n

2 + 3
2.6
.
This is equivalent to saying that every integer is in one of three nonover
lapping infnite sets (and only one of them) ; show what these sets are.
In general, if B denotes any nonzero integer we can separate all
integers into B distinct classes :
0,
I ,
2,
B1,
B,
I + B,
2 + B,
(B  I) + B,
2B,
I + 2B,
2 + 2B,
(B  I ) + 2B,
3B,
. . .
,
I + 3B,
.
,
2 + 3B,
. . .
t
(B  I) + 3B,
. .
.
the last line is less awkwardly written as
B  1, 2B  I , 3B I,
.
FROM NATURAL N UMB ERS
TO \2
Thus if B denotes 5, say, we get fve (=B) classes :
0, 5,
1, 0,
2, 7,
3, 8,
4, 9,
10, 15, ,
1 1 , 10, ,
12, 17, ,
13, 18, ,
14, 19,
.
19
In some applications, these diferent classes are cal led restdue
c/assesmcdu/cB; in the operation of division by B, they correspond
to the rmainders.
We can express the contnt of the above table as foll ows : Every
intger n is of the form
n = gB + r
where g and r are integers ; g is the multipl ier ( quotient, if we are
thinking of division) , r is the residue ( remainder) and has one of the
values in the fnite set of values 0, 1, 2, 3, , B  1 .
This is the most important formula in arithmetic; in case r = 0, B
is called a factor of n
+ a
c + a d,
e. g. , 4321 567 = 4321 (50 + 6 + 7)
= 4321 50 + 4321 60 + 4321 7.
To use positional notation well, one must know the multiplication
tableat least up to "ten times ten". Although all of us know this
table, not many of us have looked at it as closely as we shall now
.
The table is shown in Figure 2. 1.
The rulings call attention to the fact that this table i s a nest of
multiplication tables of increasing size, a one by one table, two by two
table, three by three, etc.
.
I t t f 8 0
I
t f 0 I t f
M
I f 8 I t f D It I I0
t f I M It M D M M
t 0 t M It M M M M M
I f
It M M tI M M M
t D M & tI W M M 0
f It II M M M M I M
8 f I M M M M I N M
0 M M M M M M M M M
Figure 2.1
t Fibonacci means "son of good fortune".
Figure 2.2
FROM NATURAL N UMB ERS TO y2 21
The boomerang fgures, or comerframes in Figure 2.2, called
ymosby the Greek geometers, are also important for the examples
which follow.
It was noticed, probably before 50 B.C., that the sum of the in
tegers in any lower gnomonfgure is a perfect cube. Thus:
1 = 13 , 2 + 4 + 2 = 8 " 23 ,
3 + 6 + 9 + 6 + 3 = 27 = 33 ,
The sum of the intgers in any square table, whether two by two or
three by three, and so forth, is a perfect square. Thus :
1 = 1
2
, 1 + 2 + 2 + 4 = 9
" 3
2
,
1 + 2 + 3 + 2 + 4 + 6 + 3 + 6 +
9 = 36 = 6
2
,
The table is also a picture of the double distributive law, as Figure
2.3 shows.
..
(1 + 2
)1
= l' + 2 1 (1 + 2) + 2(1 + 2)
W
W .
.N
(1 + 2 + 3)1 l' + 2 + 33
1( 1 + 2 + 3) + 2(1 + 2 + 3) + 3(1 + 2 + 3)
Figure 2.3
The proof of these facts for the given ten by ten table is a matter
merely of verifying some si mple sums and products. One naturally
asks if the corresponding facts can be demonstrated for every kby k
multiplication table where k is any positive whole number
.
Problem
2.8. Verify that analogous facts are true for a 12 by 12 table or a 15 by 15
table. Can you see any inductive scheme, or general principle?
While positional notation has the advantages already mentioned,
it also has one moderatly troublesome feature, shown by the example
99999 + 1 "
100;
22 US ES O F I NF I NI T Y
the addition of one unit can make a very considerable change in many
digits. All computing machines must take account of this, and prob
ably everyone has witnessed the dials of a milometer turning together
as the mileage on a car reaches 10,00.
In the case of decimals, the replacement of one number by another
is common, $999.99 bing thought a more attractive price than
$1,00. Notice for later use that 1 .00 00 and 0.999 999 difer only
by
.
00 01, in spit of the substantial diference in their appearance.
Thus
1 .00 and
1 .00 00 and
1 .00 00 00 and
.999
.999 999
.999 999 999
difer by
difer by
difer by
.01;
.00 01 ;
.00 00 01.
The use of the decimals 0. 1, 0.01, 0.01, to express the
tenth, hundredth, thousandth,
. . .
part of a unit allows us, in the
denary positional notation, to exprss arbitrarily small numbers s
well as arbitrarily large numbers. However, as the Babylonians may
have been the frst to discover (before 210 B .C. ), there are very useful
numbers which cannot b expressed in this notation. The discovery
was made in connection with "small" numbers, like 1, \ 1
,
but it does not really depend on size, only on form; thus also l,
,
. . .
cannot b expressed in decimal notation. This inadequacy
of the ]ntte decimal system raises serious mathematical problems
.
One sees that the sequence 0.3, 0.33, 0.333, 0.3333,
. . .
repre
sents numbers smaller than i which approach i ; clearly there is no
terminating decimal which can represent } . However, from these
same considerations, it follows that the symbol
0.33333
. .
g
a nonterminating decimal all of whose places are flled with 3's, must
represent i , provided of course that this notation means anything
at all.
The use of nonterminating decimals is the oQly way to achieve the
exatrepresentation of all numbers on the base 10. However, frm the
practical viewpoint of writing numbers or storing them in "memory
tanks" on computing machines, it is necessary to sacrifce exactness
and use the device of rounding. By carrying as many places as make
sense for the problem in hand and specifying the range of error, one
can be as accurate as necessary. The most common scheme of round
ing entails an error not exceeding i unit in the last place retained
(5 units in the place foHowing) ; all of this is shown in Figure 2.4.
F ROM NATURAL N UMB E RS TO y2 Z
If the product of two numbers is 1, then each of the two is called
the recroa/ of the other. Thus since  times 10 is 1,  is the
reciprocal of 10 and 10 is the reciprocal of 
.
In formulas, if the letter
m stands for some numbr, and r for its reciprocal, one writes
r
m = 1, and also r
Inteer
Com
To Thre
mon
Decimal
To Five Deci
Frac mal Places
tion
Places
&
1
1 . 00 1 . 00
1
2
1
0. 50 0. 50
2
3
1
0. 333 0. 33333
3
4
1
4
0. 250 0. 20
1
0. 20 0. 200 5
1
0. 167 0. 16667 6
0
1
7
7
0. 143 0. 14286
1
8
8
0. 125 0. 1250
9
1
0. 1 1 1 0
.
11111
9
1
0. 100 10
W
0. 10
1
m
Reciprocal
To Seven Deci
mal Places
1 . 00
0.50
0. 3333333
0. 20
0.20
0. 1666667
0. 1428571
0. 120
0. 11111 1 1
0. 100
and also
1
m =
r
Babylonian Scheme
60
30
20
15
12
10
8 34 17
+ 360+ 2160+
7 30
+ 360
+
360
6
+ +
Figure2.4. A table of reciprocals of the frst ten integers, expressed to three,
fve, and seven decimal places
Since 0 (zero) plays a very special role in mUltiplication and 0
a = 0
for all a, it follows that 0
PQ,
and show how to construct a sequence of points on a line, using only
the compas .
P
v
Figure 2.7
2. 13. Suppose you have no compas, but a ruler only a little longer than PQ.
Can you extend the line PQ i ndefnitely in each direction?
2.14. Explain how tunnelers run a road 8traight through a mountain.
2.8 Geometric Approach to Infnite Series
Euclid asserts that each segment may b bisected (meaning by
ruler and compass) and that there results a pair of (equal) segments.
Since each of these may b bisected, and each resulting segment,
and so on, it follows that a segment contains infnitely many points.
To be sure of this, all one has to do is make up some unambiguous
scheme for a nonterminating process of bisections
.
2 US ES O F I N F I N I TY
Figure 2.8 shows one particularly simple scheme : Each time one
bisects the righthand segment of the two new segments
.
Of cours,
during all of this construction one dos not get to B, but that
( Achilles' task) is not now the object
.
However, it is clear that, as
one performs more and more bisections, the successive midpoints
approach B; it is interesting that eerq systematic scheme for
getting an infnite set by such repeated bisections has the proprty
that successive midpoints actually approach some point of the
segment.
A
Figure 2.8
Problems
N
l I
B
2.15. Continue the construction indicated in Figure 2.9 and decide what point
of the segment the successive midpoints approach.
A ,
,,
B
Figure 2
.9
2.16. Using trisections, each time of the middle interval, convince yourself
that the sequence of points constructed approaches the midpoint of the
segment.
If the segment AB of Figure 2.8 represents an interval of length
one, then the indicated bisections show rather convincingly that
1 1 1
2
+
4
+
8
+
. . .
=
1.
.J .JJ
4
1
Figure 2.10
A picture of successive divisions into tenths in which the last tenth
is always subdivided again (see Figure 2. 10) shows that
.9
+
.09
+
.
09
+
.
009
+
.00 9 +
. . .
=
1,
that is,
1
=
0.9999999
. . .
We shall discuss this more fully later
.
FROM NATURAL NUMB E RS TO
V
2
Problems
Construct and consider :
2.17 . . 3 + . + . 03 +
.
00 3 +
. . .
.
2 2 2 2
2.18.
3
+
9
+
27
+
81
+
. .
.
1
2.19. 2
1 1
4
+
8
1
16
+
32
2.9 The Method of Exhaustion
Archimedes encountered the series
(2)
1
3
w
when he tri ed to fnd the area of a segment of a parabola. He pr
fected and applied to an infnite process the method of exhaustions
devised by Eudoxus (450 B .C. )
.
His proof of the equality (2) shows
how certain things, obscure from one point of view, may seem plain
from another. He said: "We divide a segment into four equal parts,
we hold one for ourselves, give away two, and one reains
.
At this
point three pieces have ben handed out and we hold i of the amount
distri buted
.
Next we take the remaining piece, divide it into four
segments, keep one and give two away, so that again, one remains.
After this step, it is again clear that we hold i of all that has been
distributed. Next we divide the remaining piece into four equal seg
ments, hold one, give two away, and one remains. As we continue
this process, we hold exactly i of what has ben handed out and a
smaller and smaller segment remains to b distributed
.
" This is the
meaning of the equation above
.
In making the actual construction,
it is bst that the lengths which we want to add shall lie next to
each other.
I
+
l
1
l
T
Figure 2. 11
J
+
This method, which has in it all of the moder theory of limits, will
b discussed more fully in Chapter 3. For the present, everyone will
grant that it shows how the answer i can b guessed and also that,
if any answer is right, i is the one. Secondly, the argument shows that
as on takes more and more terms of the series, the sum which one
30 US ES O F I NF I NI T Y
gets difers from i less and less. Thirdly, this fact corresponds pre
cisely to the moder way of defning the smof an infnite series asa
/tmtt,and so Archimedes' proof will seem to us entirely valid when we
meet that defnition.
Problem
2.20. Use this method to guess and prove your answers to:
1
a) 
+
5 25
+
125
+
b)
!
1
+
.
+ + ?
8 6 512
c)
1 1 1
.
+
10
+
10
+
_
. .
?
10
The same type of argument applies also to series like
2 4 8
5
+
25
+
125
+
Here a segment is divided into fve parts, tucare kept, two are worked
on and one is given away; we hold of what is distributed and are
led to an easy guess as to the answer.
Problem
2.21 . Prove by the method of Archimedes, quite generally, for every pair of
integers m and n with m smaller than in, that
m
n * m
By substituting the letter r for the ratio mJn, we can write the
left side of the formula in Problem 2.21 as
r + r
:
+ r

+
.
.
?
Do you see how to get the right hand side in terms of r? If you can
and if you have solved Problem 2.21, you will have a proof, by the
method of EudoxusArchimedes, of the famous formula for the sum
of all the terms of an infnite geometric progression whose ratio
r is rational and smaller than j
.
However, there are many proofs of
this formula valid for any r numerically less than 1
.
FROM NATURAL N UMB E RS TO
?
31
Fi nally, convert your answer to
1
1  r '
and observe that
a + ar + ar
:
+
a
1  r
=
(
a + )
:
= a
:
+
:
+
4
_
a
,
subtracting 4 (] a) from the frst and last membr of this equality,
we get
c
:
a
:
+
Finally, if a = = 1, we get
c
:
= 1 + 1, c = 0
;
and this is the length of the diagonal of a unit square.
The proof given blow that
0 is not the ratio of two whole
numbrs is a socalled "indirect" proof, a reduction to absurdity
(proof by contradiction, reducttc c asurdum)
If V2 could b represented as a ratio of two integers, say 8
/, then we could choose for / that fraction (among all equiva
lent fractions) which has the smallest possible denominator.
Figure 2. 13
FROM NATURAL N UMB E RS T O v 33
We know (see Figure 2. 13) that 1 is smaller than 0, i. e. ,
1
<
0
;
multiplying this inequality by '2, we also know that
Now, if
"
1
q
0
<
2
.
then p = y
2
. q.
Hence p/q is larger than one but smaller than 2; that is, p is
larger than q but smaller than 2q, and so p  q is positive and
smaller than q.
Next, by squaring p = 0' q, we have
and subtracting pq,
p
2
 pq = 2q
2 _
pq or p(p  q)
so that
p 2q  p
q p  q
q(2q  p)
But the right side is a representation of p/q, with a smaller denomi
nator than q, and this is a contradiction.
Problems
2.22. Discuss the same type of proof for the alleged irrationality of
\. \, v5. Are these irrational ? Proof? (Hint : In studying
p
v5' q, notice that p 2q is smaller than q since v is smaller
than 3. )
2.23. Study p
.
.
q, noticing that p 2q is smaller than q.
2.24. Show that the irrationality of follows eaily from that of v2
.
2.25. Study p
y
.
q given that there is an integer k such that
kl < n < (k + 1)2.
Show that if an integer is not the square of an integer, then it is also not
the square of a fraction.
2.2. Show that 2V8 is an integer only if is an integer.
34 US ES O F I NF I NI TY
2.11 Computing the Square Root of Two
Lt us conclude this chapter with two inductive constructions for
approximations to \2
4I42I3
. . .
in our decimal notation, and that this estimate
was used by the astronomer Ptolemy 2000years later. He also indi
cates that a method still used for fnding approximations to v'
(the frst one which we are about U give) may have been the one
that the OldBabylonians used; the records suggest this, but are not
conclusive.
The method is based on the following observation. Suppose that
a = \2
Then
2
a
and therefore
2
a + 
= 2a
a
2
\2
v2 a
or
If we knew the right value of \2 we could reproduce this value by
taking one half of the sum: the value plus 2 divided by the value.
Now for the method.
8te I . Take a positive estimate, say I as frst approximation.
F RO M NAT U RA L N U MB E R S T O V 35
Continuing instructions: Divide the integer 2 by the estimate
obtained in the preceding step. Now take as a new estimate one half
of the sum of this quotient and the estimate you just used.
The same general instruction in algebraic notation reads as follows :
Lt a denote the estimate to V2 obtained in the preceding step.
Then the new estimate is
We can also write the instructions as an inductive formula:
1st step al 1,
kth step a
k
a
k
l +
a
k 2, 3, 4,
.
.
It is interesting to see what the frst few approximations to V2
come out to be. We start with 1. Next we get l(1 + 2) J. This
estimate gives us next Hi + !) H) H. At the fourth step,
k 4 in the second formula, we get
1_17 24 577
2 12
+
17
408
'
This estimate is 1 .414215
. . .
and is reasonably close. A closer value
would be 1. 4142140.
It is clear that we get an infnite sequence of estimates in this way,
but it is at least conceivable that after a certain number of steps we
would fnd a fraction whose square is 2. If that could indeed happen,
then the process would continue but it would give the same answer
over and over. HOWEVER, that does not happen; it cannot happen
because, as we saw in thE preceding section,
V
is not a rational
number (not the ratio of two integers). This fact was actually proved
about 500 B. C. , probably by Pythagoras himself. It is recorded that he
considered the "irrationality" of V to be a most unwelcome fact,
on philosophical grounds, because it showed that the world was not
as simple and harmonious as he wanted it. He is supposed to have
ordered the fact kept secret among the members of his own philo
sophical studygroup, and there is a legend that at least one of his
students was killed for spreading the bad news.
Pythagoras brought himself, and us, face to face with a serious
question. Geometrical evidence says that there is such a number as
the square root of 2, and it even says that this is a most important
number practically, that is for carpentry and other technologies. But
this number is certainly not an integer, and if it is also not a ratio of
integers, then what kind of number is it, and how does one write it?
36
US ES O F I NF I N I TY
These are not hard questions to answer, nowadays, and this small
book will answer them in time. When we want to ta/k about the v,
we simply give it any name by which other people will recognize it.
For example, we could call it "that diagonal", or "the diagonal of a
unitsquare", or "the square root of 2" (we might add "the positive
one", if we think there will be a misunderstanding, because there ts
a negative one) ; or today we would simply use the standard name for
it,
V
2; (then we don't have to add "the positive one" because the
notation includes that idea, since v, by defnition, stands for the
cstttreroot).
Of cours, if we actually need to work with vfor example if
we are building something squarethen the name itself is not going
to be enough for us. But in that case we will know how accurate our
work has to be and we will know therefore to how many places of
decimals we want to have the v. Then we will look it up in ta/es
c] square rccts, and there are tables to fve places and also tables to
ffteen. Today a computing machine will get us a few thousand places
in the course of an afteroon. If we have no machine and no tables,
but plenty of paper, then the inductive construction above will get
us as many places as we wish, if we go through enough steps.
If in this scheme one of the numbers a and 2/a is smaller than
v, then the other is larger than v. For example, a < v
implies
I I
> V2
and
2 2
>
v
=
v.
You can check quickly that H is a little too big for
V
2, and that
H is too small. Now H is about I4I7and H is about I
'
_
1
Figure 3. 2
It is easy to see that the frst contains two unit squares and the
second contains 72 small squares (each i by i). Also, the frst can be
divided into 72 <i by i) squares. The third picture does not suggest
any reason why there is nc small square, replicas of which would
evenly fll both the unshaded area and also the larger area. But this is
what the irrationality of y entails.
Once the irrationality of y had been established, it was some
thing the Greek mathematicians couW get used to. But the embarrass
ing fact remained that since the Greeks had not originally conceived
of this possibility, they had not allowed for it in their proofs. Many
proofs, particularly in the theory of areas and of proportion, correct
as far as they went, omitted what came to be called the "incom
mensurable case". (As recently as ffty years ago, high school text
books in geometry featured careful treatments of the incommensur
able case. ) A very clear example of a theorem where the incom
mensurable case calls for a separate treatment is given in Chapter 6.
Y US ES O F I N F I NI T Y
The corrected proofs called for a suitable theory of limits. This was
supplied by Eudoxus (450 B.C. ) jhe formulated a general principle now
known as the principle of Eudoxus. A special form of it is the Axiom
of Archimedes, which we now know to be too sweeping, but which
was valid for all the geometrical confgurations with which Eudoxus
was familiar. Eudoxus' principle was this : If A and B are two given
magnitudes of the same geometric kind (lengths, areas, or volumes),
then there always exists some whole number, say m, such that
m times A is larger than B.
He perfected a method of carrying out the limit process implied in
his principle, which came to be known as the metho of exhaustios.
An example of this method was shown in Section 2.9.
It was Archimedes who, centuries later, used the work of Eudoxus
U calculate the volumes and areas of a large variety of curved fgures :
the sphere and the circular cylinder ; the parabolic cylinder and certain
parabolic solids ; the areas and lengths associated with certain spirals.
The tradition of his accomplishments was passed on from generation
to generation, and from country to country (leaving Europe about
500 A
.
D
.
and returing in later centuries, about 1400 A.D
.
)
.
The
rigorous thinking which lay behind it was somewhat lost sight of in
the excitement of the generality of new algebraic techniques ; it was
rediscovered only in the nineteenth century.
What Eudoxus asserts is equivalent to this : Given two geometric
objects (of the same kind) of magnitudes A and B, then for some
integer ,
A
=
B + k
where k is a magnitude of the same kind, smaller than B. By
treating B as a variable and taking smaller and smaller units for
B, one gets smaller and smaller remainders k, hence better and
better approximations to the magnitude of A
The fact that some geometric magnitudes had to be calculated by
the use of infnite processes led to the converse question: How can
one be sure that a given infnite process actually leads U a number?
Eudoxus invented a suitable theory of limits, at the same time dis
covering the real number system. This was rediscovered by Dedekind
in the 1870's.
Problem
3. 1 . Study the following theorem: Given triangle ABC and segment B'C'
parallel to the bae BC. Then the ratios AB' . B'B and AC' : C'C are
equal .
FROM V TO T H E T RA NS F I NI T E
The dotted lines show how this can be proved in the special cae
AB' : B'B = 3: 2.
The dotted angles are equal .
B
l
Figure 3.3
Generalize the proof to the case
AB' : B'B = m: n
41
where m and n are positive integers. What happens if m = V
2
and
n = I ?
3.2 Geometric Constructions of Reciprocals
and Other Number Relations
Every rectangle whose sides x and q have the product xq = I
has an area of I square unit. If x is a given length, we can fnd q by
a simple construction shown in Figure 3.4. First write :
I
q =
x
or better still
l B
l
Figure 3.4
0
I
I
x
42 US ES O F I NF I NI T Y
and interpret the last equation as an equality of the two ratios
belonging to the similar triangles OPB, with OP x and OB 1 ;
and OQA, with AO 1 and OQ = q
AQ is parallel U BP.
In this construction, x = OP is given, the square AOBC being
fxed once and for all. Now one draws or merely imagines BP
and constructs the parallel AQ, obtaining OQ as q
If one con
structs such lengths Yo , YI , Y
2
, for many diferent given
lengths Xo , Xl , X
2
, and uses the resulting pairs of numbers
(Xk , Yk) as the coordinates of points P
k
, one may connect them
by a graph (when enough have been plotted to give one confdence in
the resulting Figure 3. 5).
l
.. .. .
J
r
t
r
i
r
t
Figure 3. 5. xy = 1 or y = l/x
When used with a ruler, this fgure becomes a table of reciprocals
and may be used for determining the reciprocal I/x for each num
ber x
Problems
3. 2. Is there B rectangle of unit area, one of whose sides ha length zero?
3.3. Analyze the process indicated by Figure 3.6 for fnding the reciprocal
y = l/x of a given number x.
,
 : s
Figure 3.6
 s
1
:
l
t
^
t
Figure 3. 7
FROM 2 TO T HE TRANS F I N I T E 43
3.4. Work out the details of the construction of the parabola y = X
l
, inter
preted a
y
x
then construct the curve y = X
l
by graphing, using Figure 3.8 (with
right angles at 0) for the plotting of points.
3.5. What is the bearing of this construction of the curve y = X
l
on the ques
tion of whether one can always fnd z, given any length x. Relate
this problem to the previous construction.
3.6. It is afat that one cannot fnd cube roots, in general , by any fnite number
of constructions involving ruler and compas. But one can plot a great
many "cubic numbers", and draw a curve y = x3 How can this curve
be used to fnd cube roots approximately?
3. 7. Construct y = X
l
and read of
y,
Use the curve and a ruler to solve X
l
x  I = 0, in the form X
l
= 1  x,
i. e. , X
l
= Y = y
'
= 1 x.
y
:
1
y
Figure 3.8
mm.
. g
Figure 3.9
US ES O F I N F I N I T Y
3.3 A Whirl of Quadratic Irrational!
In the sqeuence 1 , 0, y, 0, y, y, some
are obviously whole numbers and therefore rational, e.g.,
2
0
=
2
= l'
Figure 3. 10. Whirl of Irrationals
It is not difcult to prove that only these, the "square numbrs", are
rational. Figure 3. 10 indicates how all of them can b constructed,
inductively, bginning with 1 and building rightangled triangles.
Problems
3. 8. Carry out the construction until you feel able to guess what happens to
the quantity yn I  Vn W n gets larger and larger. Each term, of
course, is bigger than the preceding term, and the diference btween
each term and its predecessor is always greater than zero.
3.9. Can you appl
y
the identity (a b) (a  b) = at  bt to the problem
above to help you prove your guess? Hint : If you use it correctly, the
right hand side will be equal to 1 .
3.10. Anticipate the behavior of Vn( y2n + 1  y2n) W n gets larger
and larger.
3.4 Illustration of a Limit Point
The curve shown in Fig. 3. 1 1 introduces the idea of a /tmtt in a
diferent way from any other example in this book. It was constructed
F ROM TO THE TRANS F I N I TE 45
by Hippias, contemporary of Socrates (450 B. C. ), and was used by him
to solve the problem of measuring the area of a circle. Its name,
"quadratrix", was derived from the fact that it "squared" the circle.
A
S
K W
v
B X U
Figure 3. 11. Quadratrix of Hippias
We shall use the curve here in a completely diferent context ; we
shall examine the peculiar way in which one of the points of the
quadratrix is related to its other points. But frst we shall describ
how this curve may be constructed.
The quadratrix is shown in Figure 3. 1 1 as the arc AX It is the
locus of points P found as follows : The right angle ABC and the
segment of length AB are given ; then the point H is the point of
intersection of two straight lines, the "radial" line B8 through B
and the horizontal line k parallel to BC , drawn in such a way
that the proportion
CB8. CBA Bk .BA
is satisfed. The angles must, of course, be measured in the same units
of angle, the lengths in the same units of length, so that each side of
the equation is a "pure" number (without units)
.
It is convenient to
choose BA 8 the unit of length, and the right angle CBA, called
a quarterturn, as the unit of angle. If we do this, the equation reads
numbr of quarterturs in CB8
numbr of units of length in Bk.
46
A
B
US ES OF I NF I NI TY
X
Figure 3. 12
U
To construct this curve one frst bisects the angle ABC and the
line segment AB
tan y*
for y
0; let
y* 0 ,
48 US ES O F I NF I NI T Y
takes the indeterminate form x' = ; clearly this tells us nothing
about x'
Figure 3. 15
3.5 Limits
A sequence of numbrs Xl , X2 , X3 , has the limit X pro
vided the sequence of numbers (Xl  X), (X2  X), (X3  X),
. .
,
approaches zero. t For example, the sequence
a) 3 ,
5
2 '
7
3 '
9
4 '
has the limit 2 bcause the sequence
3  2 = 1 ,
5 1 7 1
  2

2 '
2 = 
2 3 3
'
approaches zero. Similarly the sequence
b)
1
3 ,
5 7 9
3 ' 7 ' 5 ' T'
9 1
2
4 ' 4
1 1
9 '
t The expression "a sequence of numbers approaches zero" will be defned
presently.
FROM V
Z
TO T H E TRANS F I NI T E
has the limit 1 because the sequence
2
3'
2
2
T'
2
5 '
2
'
2
\ ,
49
approaches zero. A more difcult example, requiring insight into the
nature of the sequence and also some computation, is the sequence
c)
3
2 '
7
5 '
17
12 '
41
29 '
99
70
'
:
it has the limit v. More difcult to understand, but requiring no
calculation of any kind, is the fact that the sequence
d) . 1, . 102, . 102001, . 102010002, . 1020100200001,
has a limit. This limit i s defned by the sequence itself, and i s other
wise unknown to us !
To complete the preceding defnition, one needs a formal state
ment of what it means to say that a sequence approaches zero, or,
equivalently, that a sequence has zero as limit. Here one sees very
explicitly the use of infnity.
DEFINITION. A sequence of positive numbers
has the limit zero (approaches zero) if zero is the only nonnegative
number which is smaller than infnitely many of the terms in the
sequence.
A general sequence approaches zero if it approaches zero when the
signs are all made positive.
This is more usually stated as follows :
EQUIVALENT DEFINITION
.
A sequence of numbers has the limit zero
provided that for every unit fraction l in, that is
1 1 1
1 ,
2 ' " ' 4 '
there are at most a fnite number of terms of the sequence which are
numerically larger than l in (the sign of the terms is not relevant) .
Ultimately the usefulness of a theory of limits depends upon three
factors: In logical order these are 1) a precise defnition of limit of a
sequence ; ii) in each application, a proof of existence of the limit, and
iii) a method for calculating the limit ; this frequently consists of some
scheme of successive approximations coupled with an estimate of
US ES OF I NF I N I T Y
error. Of the preceding examples, a) and b) satisfy iii) so well that i)
and ii) are superfuous, the idea of limit bing almost selfevident in
these cases
.
Example c) is a little more difcult ; here one has the def
nition, knows y, and is given a sequence of alleged approximations
but has to work out some estimate of error
.
Without such estimates,
one does not know what is meant by "approximation. " The difculty
in example d) is of another kind. There the form of the approximation
shows the nature of the error, but the question is one of existence:
Is there a numbr which is being approximated? The next sections
will show the meaning and usefulness of this question.
A few of the important theorems in a theory of limits, chosen
because we shall need them very soon, read as follows :
THEOREM 3. 1
.
If Xl , X2 , X3 , has the limit L then every
subseqence has the same limit.
For example, X2 , Xb , Xg , X14 , has the limit L.
THEOREM 3. 2
.
If Xl , X2 ,
0 + Xl , a + X2 , 0 + X3 ,
X3 , has the limit L, then
has the limit a + L.
For example, 3 + Xl , 3 + X2 , 3 + X3 ,
has the
limit 3 + L.
THEOREM 3. 3. If Xl , X2 , X3 , has the limit L, then
kXI , kX2 , kX3 , has the limit kL.
For example, 2XI , 2X2 , 2X3 ,
THEOREM 3. 4. If
2 2 2
Xl , X2 , X3 ,
Xl , X2 , X3 ,
has the limit :
Problem
has the limit 2L
.
has the limit L, then
3. 12. Prove these theorems. More generally, show that x, x; , x;,
.
ha the limit L" for every integer n. [This is rather difcul t, and the
following course is suggested. Suppose that XI, X
i
, Xa, is a se
quence with a limit L, and that YI, Yi, Y3, is a sequence with
a limit M
.
Prove, now, that the sequence of products XIYI, Xi
Y2,
XaYa, ha the limit LM, i. e. that the limit of the products is the
product of the limits. This is also difcult; one must use the following
type of technique :
LM  x
y
= LM  xM + xM  x
y
= (L  x) M + X (M  y) .1
FROM V TO T H E TRANS F I N I TE 51
3.6 How the Fact that a Limit Exists May Help to Determine It
It is not obvious that the sequence of numbrs
y,
has a limit, and the reader may wish to calculate a numbr of terms
(one can use a welldrawn q x curve as a table of square roots and
a ruler for measuring and transferring lengths) to anticipate what
this limit may be.
Now, asuming merely that the sequence has a limit, let us call
this limit x* and look for it. If we square each term of the given
sequence, we shall get a new one whose limit, according to Theorem
3.4, must be x*
t
each of whose terms (after the frst) is 2 more than a term of the
original sequence. Clearly the limit of the new sequence is x* + 2
So now we know that
x*
t
= x*
+
2,
and there are only two numbrs for which this can b true: 2and 1
.
So x* is 2or it is 1 . Since all terms are positive, 1 is a ridiculous
answer and it follows that x* = 2
We seem
to have proved that the sequence of natural numbers approaches
zero!
Of course, what we proved (by reductio ad absurdum) is that the
given sequence has no limit
.
Next let r b some numbr and look at the sequence
52 US ES OF I NF I NI T Y
Lt us assume that it has a limit k
US ES O F I N F I N I T Y
DEFINITION
.
Two sets (whether they are fnite or infnite) are said
to represent the same cardinal number if the elements of one set can
be paired of against the elements of the other so that no elements
are left over in either of the two sets.
For example, the even integers and the odd integers can be paired
of in this way:
( 1, 2), (3, 4), (5, 6), (2n  1, 2n) ,
and i t follows that there are just as many of the one as of the other.
Such a pairingof is called a onetoone correspondence.
The set of all integers can be put into onetoone correspondence
with the set of odd integers, for example, by the formula
N = 2n  1,
where n ranges over the set of all integers, and the corresponding odd
number is N
Thus the set of odd numbers (and also the set of even
numbers) has the cardinal power No of the set of integers.
Many sets which are apparently more numerous than the integers
are also of power No, for example, the set of all rational numbers.
It is easily seen that the rational numbers can be arranged without
omission or repetition in a simple sequence. For instance, by frst
lumping together in groups all those rational numbers alb which
have a + b = 2 (i.e., t), then those which have a + b = 3 (i.e. ,
j, i), etc. , and then ordering the numbers in each group according to
the size of their numerators, we have :
1 1 2 1 3 1 2 3 4
I ' 2 ' I ' " ' I ' 4 ' 3 ' 2 ' I '
1 5 1 2 3 4 5 6
etc.
5 ' I ' { , 5 ' 4 ' 3 ' 2 ' I '
The only troublesome detail here is that one must avoid the repetition
of the (equivalent) fractions in order to conform to the requirement
of a onetoone correspondence. For example, we have omitted i from
the third group because its equivalent, t. already appears in the frst.
The fact that the set of rational numbers has the cardinal power
No is a special case of the following:
THEOREM
.
Let S be a set of sets, S; , S
t
, S. , .
. .
. If S is
fnite or has the power No, and if all sets S; , S
t
, S

,
have
the power No, then the set of all objects belonging to these sets also has
the power No .
FROM 2 TO T H E TRANS F I NI T E
This assrtion can also be written in the form of equations :
1
.
No
=
No ,
3 No = No ,
2 No = No ,
No' No
=
N
=
No .
The proof is simple. By hypothesis, every set SI , S2 , S3 ,
55
can be arranged in a sequence
.
Lt us denote by x(i, j) the ith ob
ject in S;. For instance, x(2, 3) denotes the 2nd object in the 3rd
sequence S3. Now there is only a fnite number of terms x(i, j)
with i + j equal to some number a. Hence we can arrange the
terms with i + j = 2 into a sequence, follow it by the sequence
containing all terms ' with i + j = 3, follow this by a sequence
containing all terms with i +j = 4, etc
.
Then we obtain a sequence
containing each object occurring in any S; at least once. Strike out
the repetitions and you have a sequence containing each of our
objects exactly once.
When a set of objects is put into onetoone correspondence with
the integers in this way, it is said to be counted. A set which can be
counted is called countable. The theorem stated above asserts that a
fnite or countable infnity of countable infnities is countable. A set
which cannot be put into onetoone correspondence with the integers
in this way is called uncountable.
We have shown how to count the rational numbers, and the next
indicated step is to count the reals. But this is impossible. Cantor
proved the following celebrated theorem:
THEOREM. Given a onetoone correspondence between the integers and
some set of real numbers, it is always possible to construct a real number
which has not been counted in this correspondence.
COROLLARY. Tm set of all real numbers is uncountable.
The proof is simple ; let us frst concentrate on a convenient subset
S of the real numbers : S denotes the set of all real numbers between
0 and 1 whose nonterminating decimal expansions use only two
digits, say 1 and 2.
Lt us suppose that we are given a onetoone correspondence
between the integers and the elements of S. This would mean that
we can count the numbers in S, i.e., that we can make a list and
refer to the frst, second,
. . .
numbers in the list. We shall construct
a number N belonging to S and we shall show that N is not in our
list. This will prove that the subset S of real numbers is not count
able and hence that the whole set of real numbers is not countable.
56 US ES O F I NF I NI T Y
To construct N
, select its frst digit by looking at the frst number
in the list. If it has 1 as its frst digit, let N have 2 as its frst digit
and vice versa. Similarly, select the second digit of N so that it is
diferent from the second digit of the second number in the list.
Proceed in this way, always making the kth digit of N diferent
from the kth digit of the kth number in the list. Clearly, the
number N so constructed is diferent from the frst number in the
list (because of its frst digit), from the second number (because of
its second digit), and, in general, from the kth number (because of
its kth digit), and this is true for all k. So the real number N
belongs to S (
since it consists only of digits 1 and 2) but was not
counted in our onetoone correspondence. This concludes the proof.
This wonderful proof becomes clearer if one sets up some sequence
of real numbers and applies the construction to obtain a number not
in the sequence. Used this way, the argument in Cantor's proof is
called Cantor's diagonal procedure and it is a standard way of con
structing a number which difers from every one of a given infnite
sequence of numbers.
Problem
3
.
14. We showed above how to count the rational numbers. Since these are
also real numbers, they may serve U the set S in the preceding proof.
Cantor's construction then yields a number which is not rational. Look
into this argument, workng out the frst dozen or so digits of the resulting
number A and using a variant of the scheme indicated above . (Make
every rational number in the list on page nonterminating, either by
writing out all the zeros or by converting the terminating decimals to
numbers ending in a string of nines, as you wish.)
3.10 Uses of the Uncountable
The distinction between countability and uncountability has
turned out to be one of the cornerstones of analysis and topology.
Here a few facts will be cited, without proof, to show some ways in
which it can matter whether a given set is countable or uncountable.
Figure 3. 16
First, one can have a countable infnity of segments on a line, all
of the same size, no two of which touch each other; see Figure 3. 16.
One sees how to construct a countable infnity of segments on a given
segment of length L, no two of which touch (Figure 3. 17). Of
F ROM \ TO T H E TRANS F I N I TE 57
course, in this second case, only a fnite number of them can be
larger than a preassigned unit fraction lin. More precisely, there
must be less than nL segments of length at least lin.
Figure 3. 17
By contrast, in any uncountable infnity of segments on a line,
some must overlap. For every segment contains some rational points,
i.e., points whose distance from a fxed point 0 is a rational number.
Some rational points must belong to more than one segment, since
otherwise the set of segments could be counted, contrary to assump
tion. The same argument shows that in any uncountable set of seg
ments on a line, uncountably many must overlap and uncountably
many must be larger than some unit fraction. More of this sort of
argument appears at the end of Chapter 6.
An amusing variation of this same phenomenon, which is actually
important in certain topological applications, is the following: Let us
suppose that the letters of the alphabet are represented by mathe
matical cursthat is, they are without any thickness. Also, sup
pose that the letters have no oraments, i.e
.
, no extra lines or feet.
Then one can scribble an infnity of each letter on any sheet of paper
of any given size. One can fnd room for an uncountable infnity of
certain letters, like L or L or or N or M but surprisingly it is
not possible to write an uncountable infnity of T's or A's or B's
or P's without two of them overlapping.
Problem
3.15. Can you clasify now the letters of the alphabet according to the prin
ciple here indicated, and get to the topological essence of this fact?
(See Figures 3. 18, 3. 19 and 3.2. )
 = s
U
(a)
 s


s

s
U
U
U
U
(b)
Figure 3. 18
y=
2
y
=
2
y
= l
y =
D
x = D x = a
x =
l
US ES O F I N F I N I TY
U
B
U
Figure 3. 19
y
=
l
y
= a
y
=
D
x=
2
y
J
(
a
)
Uncountable L's (b) Uncountable O's
Figure 3.20
C H A P T E R F O U R
Zigzags: To the Limit if the Limit Exists
In this chapter we shall discuss the concept of seqential limit.
This notion is much the same whether on the line, or in the real num
ber system, or in the plane. We shall treat the case of the plane,
because it contains a more stimulating variety of situations, and b
cause one can draw illuminating pictures. Our principal tool for the
exploration of the limit concept will be the zigzag. This is an infnite
sequence of line segments forming a simple polygonal path looking
like the conventional representation of thunderbolts; see Figure 4. 1 .
A picture of a thunderbolt suggests a target and this is a good ap
proach to the idea of a limit. There is another point to the analogy,
if we recall that anticipated limits sometimes do not exist and then
realize that this is also true of supposed targets.
We shall fnd that when the target of a zigzag is clearly marked,
it will always be that point of the plane which is also the limit point
of the sequence of vertices (cornerpoints) of the zigzag.
Figure 4. 1
5
US ES O F I NF I NI TY
The zigzags are interesting fgures, especially in connection with
the concept of kgth.
Figure 4.2
The zigzag in Figure 4.2 clearly has no target ; moreover, if con
tinued indefnitely, it is infnitely long. The zigzag in Figure 4.3
starts at PI ; for any fnite n, the left part PP Pg is fnite
( the three dots in the middle just indicate that its exact shape does
not matter here) .
The three dots on the right mean that the zigzag
has infnitely many vertices. The zigzag is an infnite construction;
for each n " 1, 2, 3, , there is a path PIP
2
Pg from the
frst vertex PI to the nth vertex P
n
and the length of this path
( let us call it Lg) is the sum of the lengths of the constituent seg
ments. Thus
Figure 4.3
Now we make the following defnition:
DEFINITION. The lgth L of the zigzag P1P
2
P
3
is the
limit of the lengths Lg as n increases indefnitely, if this limit exists.
Symbolically,
L = length ( P1P
2
P
3
) lim ( length PP Pg) ;
g
~w
or, even more briefy, L " lim Lg .
g
w
Problem
4.1 . What necessary qualifying phrae appears fnally to have been omitted?
How therefore must this lat symbolism be read?
Z I G Z AG S : TO THE L IMI T I F THE L IMI T EXI STS 61
In general, as we see from the defnition of this limit, in order to
calculate it, we must sum an infnite series. We have had some prac
tice in this already.
The frst examples which follow are mainly concered with length.
The point T, origin of coordinates and undoubted target of the zig
zag, will not fgure importantly for the time being
.
EXAMPLE 1 . The frst zigzag consists of the segments
A:
A,
.
A;A
t
, A
t
A, ,
'
. The points A, , n = 1, 2, 3, are
alterately above and below the xaxis; the abscisa of A, is 1/2\
and the ordinate i s the same except for sign. See Figure 4.4.

. ,l I)
Figure 4.4
A, V the point n = 1, 2, 3,
. . .
.
The zigzag A
:
A;A
t
. . .
is like a halfline or ray, and it is also like
a segment with just one endpoint (corresponding to A:
) , the other
one having been deleted. Such segments occur frequently in mathe
matical work and are called halfope; the segment with both end
points of is called ope and the segment with both endpoints put
62 US ES O F I NF I N I TY
back on is called closed. Notice that as far as the construction goes,
the zigzag does not contain the point T ( although it obviously
points to it)
.
It may surprise the reader that this infnite zigzag is of fnite
length. It is easy to see that the length of any path AoAl ' " A
n
along the zigzag is less than the following sum which is itself less
than 3:
1 1 1 1
1 + 2 +  +  +
. .
+ 
2
4 8 2
n
We get this sum if we replace each segment of the zigzag by its
horizontal plus vertical projections. Using the theorem of Pytha
goras we can readily show that
1
8
v
,
and prove that the length L of the zigzag is
!
V
!
..
Thus L ` 2.3 with an error as large as .2, i.e., an error not exceeding
10 per cent.
EXAMPLE 2. In Figure 4.5 the length is even easier to calculate.
TB; is of unit length and we are given an infnite sequence of equi
lateral triangles, with bases of diminishing lengths :
!,
1
,
.
Since the bases add up to TB; = 1 , one sees easily that the length
of the zigzag is 2.
I
.
B
.
.
.
~
B
Figure 4. 5
B
/ ` ! '
.
Z I G Z AG S : TO THE L IMI T I F THE LI MI T EXI STS
Problem
4.2. Notice that the oddnumbered vertices lie on the xaxis (where
y
= 0 in
rectangular coordinates) and the evennumbered vertices lie on the line
T B2 , whose equation is easily found to be
y =
)
.
x.
Construct an analogous zigzag (segments of equilateral triangles) whose
even vertices lie on the curve
y
= x. How does the length of this zig
zag compare (judging from the pictures) with that of the preceding zig
zag?
EXAMPLE 3. The zigzag of Figure 4.6 does not have fnite length,
and we shall say that it has infnite length in accordance with the
following defnition:
DEFINITION
.
If the lengths L, increase without bound as n
increases, then we say that L is infnite.
Since we are adding positive numbers, the numbers L, must get
bigger and bigger ; if they had an upper bound ( any number which is
bigger than all of them) , then, by the BolzanoWeierstrass principle,
they would have a limit ( less than or equal to this bound) . There
fore, if there is no limit lim L, , there is no bound, and that is all we
mean to say when we call the length L infnite. In much the same
way, one says that the length of a Euclidean line is infnite. It is a
new form of words, a matter of convenience; this infnity is not 0
number of the real number system. Mathematicians sometimes aug
ment the real number system, throwing into it a new object,
=, to
correspond to this infnity, but then they have to make special rules
for operating with it. For example: = + = = = but
=  = is
indeterminate .
The zigzag of Figure 4.6 is very much like the preceding one in
appearance, but the coordinates of the vertices are diferent.
C
, V the point
( 
n
O
, n = 2, 3, 4,
. .
It is clear that the length of 0,0
t
excees !, that of 0,0
t
0

excees
1, and that of 0,0
t
0

0, excees 1 .5.
This suggests that the length of
0;0
t
0, increases substantially with each step; but this is not
true. The increase in later steps is very small
.
However, these lengths
do add up and L, increases without bound
.
Let us look into it more
closly.
I
b US ES O F I N F I N I TY
l
t
Figure 4.6
If we consider the four sgments 0,0,, 0,0,, 0,0,, 0,0,, we
see that the ordinate of each endpoint is, numerically, at least !,
and therefore each segment has a length of at least 2 1 i. Thus
the four segments have a combined length of at least 1 . In precisely
the sme way one sees that the next eight segments have a combine
length of at least 8 times !, or 1, and the next sixteen segments after
those have a total length of at least 1, and then the next 32, and so on.
In this way we can make a sequence of paths,
whose lengths increase like the numbers 3, 4, 5, ' " and snce
we can continue this indefnitely, we see that the lengths L, increase
without limit. The zigzag has infnite length.
This result is of such great importance in mathematics that the
reader will do well U think it through again, verifying that the length
00
+
, + 0+,0+
t
+
+ 0
t
=:
0
t
approaches
zero. ( Cf. defnition of "a sequence of positive numbers approaches
zero", Section 3.5
)
As the pictures show, the point T in our examples is a limit of the
zigzag vertices. The distances from T U these verticest are easily
calculated. In the frst example,
In the second example, let the reader calculate T B
n
( there being
two cases U consider) .
!Here we mean the length of the segment TAn , not distance along the
zigzag.
6 US ES O F I NF I NI TY
Problem
4.3. Look at Example 2 in this roundabout way: First, show that the sequence
B
1
, B
3 , B. , ' " has T as limit. Next, use the fact that the dis
tances B2.B2nl approach zero.
It follows easily from the triangle inequalityt that a sequence
cannot have more than one limit. For if the distances I

T and also
I

T' approach zero, then the formula
I

T + I,' TT', R I, 2, 3,
shows that the distance TT' must equal zero. But in Euclidean
geometry this is only possible when T and T' are the sme point.
Thus if we know that a limit exists we may speak of tm limit of a
sequence.
The next pictures ar directed to the notion of limit point.
EXMPLE 4 The zigzag ODID2Da
. .
, in Figure 4.7 uses segments
which make an angle of 45 with the horizontal and therefore make
right angles at each vertex. The length of D"
m
+l is 112
m
, for
m = 1, 2, 3,
.
B
V ===
Figure 4.7
The infnite zigzag starting at D2 , namely D2DaDCD5 , lies
entirly inside a square whose diagonal has length i ( sides are
2
/4) , it has D2 8 endpoint and no other point which we have yet
!This states that, in a triangle, the sum of the lengths of two sides is greater
than the length of the third.
9
ZI G  ZAGS : TO THE LI MI T I F THE LI MI T EXI STS 67
constructed is an endpoint of it. Hoever, there is a point in the plane
ver intimately related to this zigzag. Let us call it Z. Figure 4.7
shows Z where it does not belong; u the reader agrees that it does
not belong there, then he will know how U fnd where it does belong.
Problem
4.4. Suppose that the point 0 is the origin of a coordinate system whose xaxis
is horizontal U customary. Locate the point whose abscissa is
2 and
whose ordinate is
= !
!
!
=
V
.
=
2 2 4 8 2 3 3
Call this point Z and discuss the relation of Z to the vertices D\ . Dz ,
D3 ` , explain what is meant by the statement "the abscissa of Z is
a limit of the 8equence of ab8ci88a8 of the infnite succession of vertices"
.
Prove that the ordinate of Z is a limit of the sequence of ordinates of the
vertices (recall the formula for the sum of an infnite geometric progres
sion) .
EXMPLE 4'.The zigzag OD;DD
. . .
of Figure 4.8is an interest
ing companion piece U the preceding. The diagram shows the sme
sequence of segments arranged to make a spiral.
,
Figure 4.8
Problem
4.5
. The reader may enjoy proving that there is a limit point T to the set of
vertices D; , D; , of Example 4' by fnding its coordinates.
b US ES O F I NF I NI TY
EXMPLE 5. Let us look next at an infnite zigzag OE1E2E;E4
whose successive segments have lengths
1 1 1 1
1,
2 ' " ' 4 ' " '
L,

+ 
2 2 3 4 5 n '
and this sum increases without limit as n increases. Thus, no matter
what point I one may choose, some En ( for sufciently large n)
is to the right of this chosen I, all later points of the zigzag are even
further U the right and cannot approach I. The details should now
be clear.
ZI G  ZAGS : TO THE L IMIT I F THE LI MI T EXI STS 69
Problems
4. 0 In this example, although the abscissa of the points E
n
increae without
limit a n increaes, the ordinateedo not increae in this way. Prove that
the ordinate of E" is
f
and satisfy yourself that the sequence of ordinates has a limit by relating
this problem to the picture in Figure 4I0
I
0
Figure 4I0
4.I. (a) Explain why the following assertion might be false, and formulate a
correct statement : "The limit of the projections on a line (of an in
fnite sequence of points in the plane) is also the projection of the
limit. "
(b) Can you prove the following asertion? "The projection on a line of
the limit (of a sequence of points) is the limit of the projections. "
Two companion pieces to the previous zigzag, the frst showing
converence and the second diverence are pictured in Figure 4
I I .
1
:
:
l
:,
:, :
`
`
~ ~
Figure 4 II
t
:
r
10
US ES O F I NF I N I TY
In the frst one, the vertices have a limit point T, and the sequence
of segments 0E, (n " 1 , 2, 3,
. .
) has a limiting position
0T In the second there is no limit point, but the sequence of se
ments 0, (n
=
I, 2, 3,
) does have a limiting direction!
The reader is invited to prove that the limit of the slopes of 0E,
exists.
Figur 4. 12
That 7 is irrational means that the radius of a circle and its
perimeter are incommensurable lengths. This has a striking conse
quence, related to the present discussion. If we choose a point, call it
I; , on a circle and then rotate the circle through one radian we will
get a new point, call it I
t
( the arc I
:
I
t
has length equal to the
radius) , and if we rotate again through one radian, we will get another
point I
.
, and so on. Let us in this way construct a sequence of
points I, , n
=
I, 2, 3,
. . .
; see Figure 4 I2. Now the points
in this sequence can never repeat themselves, because of the incom
mensurability of the radius and perimeter. ( This is not trivially ob
vious, and is worth some thought.) The sequence of radial segments
0I, cannot assume a limiting position, because we are constantly
changing position by a whole radian. It follows from both these facts
that the points I; , I
t
, I.
, are distinct from each other,
and that the sequence has no limit point.
The behavior of the point I, as n increases is a very important
problem in the higher calculus. It is easy to conjecture that I

moves
around so as to make its presence known in every part of the circum
ZI G  ZAGS : TO THE LI MI T I F THE LI MI T EXI STS 1I
ference more or less equally often, and this is the substance of a dif
cult and celebrated theorem due tKronecker. The easier part of this
theorem states that the set of points I, , n 1, 2, 3,
is
everywhere dense on the circle. This means that if we pick some point
Ion the circle we can always fnd an iterate of I; ( that is a point
obtained frm I; by a certain number of rotations through one
radian) which is near to it. More precisely, if we choose some ( large)
integer, sy K, we can fnd a point I ( for some clever choice of
N) so that the distance II is smaller than 11K. Of course, this
dos not mean that I is a limit point of the entire sequence I; ,
I
t
, I, ,
, wind
around indefnitely often? Can you conclude that there is no limit to the
original sequence?
Figure 4I4
4I0 Determine whether or not the following series converge :
I I I I
(a)
2
I I
(b)
3
II
I I I I
(c)
i
(
d
) =
I
=
I
_
'
: :
V
,
.
74 US E S O F I N F I N I TY
4. 1 1 . Let P be a point and let Pn (n = 1 , 2, 3,
. . .
) be a sequence of points
in the plane. Suppose that for every line l, the projection of P on l is
a limit of the projections of Pn (n = 1 , 2, 3,
. . .
) .
I
I
U
(a) Prove that P is then a limit of the sequence.
(b) Could this result be deduced from the fact that the given data are
true for just one line?
(c) For two lines? What is the precise state of afairs?
I

I
I
X
t

X
(a)
Figure 4. 15
^
`





t

X
(b)
l,
C H A P T E R F I V E
The Self Perpetuating Golden Rectangle
In this chapter we shall study some of the properties of a rectangular
shape discovered by the Greeks about 50 B.C. , the time of the dis
covery of the irrationality of certain square roots. The construction of
this rectangle involves y5, a number which is the key to the ruler
andcompass construction of the regular pentagon. This pleasing poly
gon is a face of the regular dodecahedron ( twelvesided polyhedron)
and is built into the regular twentysided icosahedron, the most
fabulous of the fve regular solids. The golden rectangle therefore was
highly prized by the Greeks for its own beauty and for the beauty of
its family connections.
Looked at in the right way it gives rise almost instantly to the fol
lowing sequence:
1 , 1 , 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144,
This succession of numbers was invented by Leonardo of Pisa early
in the 120's in a problem of arithmetic about the breeding of rabbits
( 1 and 1 in his sequence represent the ancestorrabbits) and it has
come to be called the Fibonacci t series. Ever since, the connection
between the rectangle and this series has been a source of mathe
matical discoveries, some of which will be shown in this chapter. By
the eighteenth century it had been found that the rectangle was
naturally associated with a logarithmic spiral, a shape connected with
the growth of many natural objects like some molluscs and snails.
!See footnote to p. 20.
1
I0 US ES OF I N F I N I TY
The enunciation by Fechner, the great psychologist, of his famous
law: "The intensity of reaction to a stimulus varies as the logarithm
of the intensity of the stimulus", brought to the rectangle and its
builtin spiral a host of admirrs who were not necessarily mathe
maticians. The importance of logarithms in psychological phenomena
is attested by a variety of facts ; the use of the decibel, for example, in
measuring intensity. A biological phenomenon called "phyllotaxis"
also exhibits the Fibonacci numbers. t
5.1 The Golden Rectangle
Figure 5. Ishows a rectangle shaped like a librarian's 3x 5card. If
one folds such a card in the manner shown in Figure 5
2, there is left
a rectangle whose sides are in the ratio 2to 3, which is about 0.67 to l.
3
b
Figure . I
3
Figure .2
The original card had the ratio of 3 to 5 which is 0.6 to 1. Thus if
one cuts a square away from such a card one gets a shape approxi
mately like that of the original. Now the shape of the golden rectangle
may be defned in this way: If one cuts a square away from it then the
rectangle that remains has exactly the same shape as the original rec
tangle. By "same shape" we mean that the ratio of shorter side to
longer side is the same, i.e., that the two rectangles are similar.
I For an account of these phenomena, see the beautiful discussion in
H. S. M. Coxeter's Introductton to 0eometry, Chapter I I . See also the article
"Mathematical Games, " by Martin Gardner, in 8cientt/c Amertcan, August,
I99.
THE SELF PERPETUATI NG GOLDEN RECTANGLE I1
Clearly infnity is now let loose; for, if one cuts a square away from
the newer rectangle, there results another similarly shaped rectangle,
and if one cuts a square from this one there results another, and so on,
indefnitely.
Let us denote the lengths of the sides of the original rectangle by
a + b and a. Then the lengths of sides of successive rectangles give
the following sequence of pairs :
,
,.
,
. a
2a
'
.
. a '
,
..
5 3a '
5  3a
5a
where we have written the longer side of each pair frst. The pattern
which emerges is this : The longer side of one rectangle is the sum of
the two sides of the next following rectangle. The coefcients of a
and in these expressions are related to the Fibonacci numbers
listed above. The law of formation of the Fibonacci numbers is this :
Each number is the sum of the two preceding numbers ( exception
being made for the two ancestors: I and I)
1 

1
1 3
+ 
1  
1
 1
Figure 5.3
Problem
5.1 . Use Figure 5.4 to prove the irrationali ty of Vz and Figure 5.5 similarly
for
V
s. Can you adapt this to other caes of
V
n?
(a)
Figure 5.4
Figure 5.5
THE SELF PERPETUATI NG GOLDEN RECTANGLE 79
5.3. Estimating the Golden Mean
We have ben assuming that a golden rectangle exists. This is easy
to prove, but frst let us estimate the golden mean by "trial and error".
We wish to determine the ratio
m
a
so that
a
a a + '
for, if a and satisfy this relation, then the rectangle in Figure 5.3
is indeed a golden rectangle. If we choose a and S that a+ " 1,
our calculations become simpler, for then
a
m =  a
,
a a +
that is, a and must be so chosen that m a and a + " 1.
Accordingly, we make a table of trial sides a and and record the
ratio /a m. The frst table indicates that is between .6 and
8 near to .6; the second gives a better estimate of 7M between .61
and .62. Therefor e .615 cannot difer from the golden mean by more
than 0.005 which is a possible error not exceeding 5 in 600 and is less
than a 1 per cent error. This would be pretty good for manufacturing
rectangular cards by machine methods .
a . 2 .4 .6
8 .6 .4
m 4 1.5 0.67
.8
. 2
0.25
Problem
a .6
.4
m 0.67
.61
30
0.65
.62
38
0.61
. 2. W is nearer to .62 than it is to .61 ; use "proportional parts", or some
simple graphical scheme for getting a better estimate for m. The value
of m to nine decimals is 0.618 033 989, and a good graph should give 0.618.
5.4. Ways of Finding the Golden Mean
a) The shape appears to have been discovered in the following
problem: "Divide a given line segment into two parts such that the
shorter is to the longer as the longer is to the whole segment"; see
Figure 5.6( a) .
The conditions in the problem, expressed in symbols, are
a
a a + `
8 US ES O F I NF I N I TY
.
(
a)
(
b)
Figure 5. 6
Dividing the numerator and denominator on the right by a, we
obtain
I
a
I +
a
substituting m for /a and denoting I/m by z, we get
I
or m
(
m + I ) I or m + I z.
This says that the reciprocal of m is M + I Also it leads to a
quadratic equation and a precise expression for m ( see below) . But
before deriving a formula for m, let us see the relation between this
defnition of m and the preceding one. Let us imagine that we have
found the proper lengths a and and let us express the equality of
ratios by means of a pair of similar triangles. This may be done di
rectly on the given segment as follows :
Figure 5.6( b) shows the similar rightangled triangles ; two equal
acute angles are marked by an x ^ow the dotted lines complete the
fgure to a pair of similar rectangles and a residual square. Clearly we
are back to the previous defnition of the golden shape.
We now continue with the calculation of . We saw that the
defnition of the golden mean implies that M satisfes the equation
m
t
+ m I
By completing the square:
m
:
+ m +
I
4
5
4 '
THE SELF PERPETUATI NG GOLDEN RECTANGLE 81
we fnd that
V
2
or
since 0 and are lengths, m must be positive, so
m
V

I
2
This is the formula for m.
It is easy m check that m satisfes the original conditions because
and
V
+ I
m + l =
2
= r
m(m + I ) =
V
2

I
V
2
+ I
=
5
I
= I
By looking up
V
5 in a table or by calculating it in one way or
another, we can get arbitrarily close approximations to mj to nine
decimals,
m 0.0I8 033080
1
The frst fve of these numbers are 1, , j, !, i, and a
moment
'
s thought will guide the reader mthe next one. Thereafter it
is easy to guess, and even to show, that the integers appearing in the
denominator of each ( and in the numerator of the next) fraction are
the Fibonacci numbers ! Thus m is now given to us as a limit.
Problem
5.3. Show that if one of the fractions above is equal to p/q, then the next
one must equal q/(p q) .
I In order to fnd out what, precisely, is defned by such an expression, read
ConttnuedFracttonsby C. D. Olds, to appear in this series.
THE SELF PERPETUATI NG GOLDEN RECTANGLE b
The fact that these fractions actually converge to the number m,
8 one hopes they do, was proved by Simson ( 1734) , 10 year after
Girard
'
s discovery. He showed that the successive fractions alterately
overshot their target and undershot it ; the evennumbered fractions
constitute a decreasing sequence and the oddnumbered constitute an
increasing sequence, both with limit m.
In the next section we shall see how this can be proved.
Problem
5.4. (a) Show that the following method of solving m
,
= 1

m is fan tastic:
m
\l
=
VI 
V
I
VI

V
I  VI

m
by showing that the sequence
m
V
I
I
=VrI==VT
I
=_=.= . . ,
0, VI
 0, V
I

VI  \ ,
of fnite parts does not have m as limit.
(b) Show that T, the reci procal of m, satisfes the equation TI = 1 T
and that the method of solution
T = V
=
VI VI
T
=
VI
VI V
I T
is plausible because the corresponding sequence of fnite parts has a
limit.
5.5. Another Sequence Leading to M
In our present plan for approximating M it will simplify matters
to take 0 as unit of length, i.e., 0 = 1 ; then
= = m
0
and the longer ( als the shorter) sides of successive golden rectangles
have lengths
1 + m, 1 ,
5m  3,
m, I  m,
5  8m,
2m  1,
13m  8,
2  3m,
13  21m,
It is geometrically clear that these numbers approach zero. But u
US ES O F I NF I NI T Y
5 8m, for example, is small, i.e., u
5 8m 0,
then m is approximately i, i.e., m i 0I8+ This reasoning is
quite generl ; each term set "approximately equal" to zero gives an
approximation for m Starting with the ffth, we get, in this way
I
2 '
2
3 '
3
5 '
5
8 '
8
I3 '
I3
2I '
Problem
2I
34
'
34
55
'
55
80 '
5.5. Find the decimal equivalent of some of these. Try the ratios 377/610 and
610/987 ; how far out are these in the sequence?
The rule of formation of these fractions is clear: the denominator of
one fraction is the numertor of the next and the sum of numerator
and denominator gives the new denominator; that is,
is followed by
5) '! .
q
+ = I
q p + q p + q
If the two fractions could be equal, then comparison with equation
(54) shows that each would be equal to mj but m is irrational ( see
Section 5.2) . Therefore these fractions are not equal. To see that m
lies between them, observe that if we replace the larger one by the
other in equation (5.5) , the left side will become smaller than Ij
this shows [by comparison with (5
= .
2
+ . = 2. + 1;
. . .
.
5.8. (a) The Fibonacci numbers, modulo 2, are I , I , 0, 1, I , 0, ;
modulo 3, they are I , I, 2, 0, 2, 2, I , 0, I , I , 2, ;
both sequences are teriodic. Show that the sequence of Fibonacci
numbers mod 4 is also periodic. Similarly, exhibit its periodicity mod 5
and mod 6. (The series modulo 10 ha period 0. )
(b) Do you see how to get the residues, mod 3, 4, 5, 6 without actu
ally calculating the large Fibonacci numbers? Using this knowledge,
86 US E S O F I NF I NI T Y
and the rule that each number is the sum of the preceding two, can you
prove Lagrange's remark: ThereetdueeotheFtonacctnumeremodu/o
anytnteqeruhateeerareertodtcIHint: If n is the modulus the period
does not exceed n
+ 1 .
5.6. A Spiral ZigZag
We shall next construct a spiralling zigzag whose vertices lie on a
very beautiful spiral. The zigzag will lead us to the origin of this
spiral, and also disclose the essential scheme underlying the construc
tion of the spiral. At the same time we shall be constructing a whirl
of contracting squares and also a whirl of rectangles and doing a bit of
whirling ourselves. Starting at the lower left corner A of a golden
rectangle ABDF, see Figure 58,we draw a 15line to the upper edge
at C, and drop the perpendicular CH cutting of a square. Next,
using the new golden rectangle CDFH, with CH as a base, we repeat
this construction; that is, we draw a line CE at 15 to the new base
CH and drop a perpendicular EJ cutting of a square and giving us
rectangle EFHJ with base EJ
.....J
,
yg '
...
Figure 5.9
The frst step in our proof consists in showing that the diagonal
BF of the frst rectangle meets the diagonal DH of the second rec
tangle at right angles at the point T. Since ABDF and CDFH are
similar rectangles, all angles marked a in Figure 5.9 are equal. The
similar right triangles BFD and DHF therefor have
qBFD = 0  a = qDHF,
so that
qHTF = I8  [a + ( 0  a) ]
= 90,
and BF and DH indeed meet at right angles in T.
Thus, if ABDF
is rotated by 0around the point T, BF will go into a new posi
tion B'F' perpendicular to the original BF ( see Figur 5.9) , and
B'F' will contain the line DH Similarly, DH will go into D'H'
and D' H' will lie along BF
N ext, observe that
B'D'
DF
I + m
I
I
m
B'T
DT
D'T
FT
THE S ELF PERPETUATI NG GOLDEN RECTANGLE 89
Morover, since
A'B'
CD
AB
CD
B'T
DT
I
m '
and since CD and A'B' are parallel, it is clear that C lies on A' T
and that
A'T I
CT m
Similarly, H lies on F'T and
F'T I
HT m
Hence, the shrinking by a factor m of all distances from the point T
brings the rctangle A'B'D'F' into the rectangle CDFH as we set
out to show.
Our arguments depended only on the golden ratio m of the
shorter to the longer side of the given rectangle, and not on its actual
dimensions. Since this golden ratio is prserved in all the subsequent
rectangles of our construction, the above proof is valid for all. This
shows that the point T will serve as the center of rotation and con
traction thrughout, that it is interior to all the shrinking rectangles
we construct by our scheme, and that it is therefore the target point
of the zigzag.
5.8. A Lgarithmic Spiral
We can fnd a simple formula for the vertices A, C, E, 0,
I, of the zigzag in Figure 5. 8 if we make the following
choice of axes and units. Pick T as origin of coordinates, let r repre
sent distance from T, and choose the line AT as initial direction
( se Figure 5. I0)
, m\ m
t
,
m
:
, : : , respectively. Therefore, the distance r of any such
vertex from T of our spiral zigzag can be written
(5. 0)
r = AT m
'
.
9 US ES O F I NF I NI TY
t

Figure 5.10
This gives the following table:
vertex A C E 0 I
t 0 1 2 3 4
. . .
7 AT AT m AT m AT m AT m
+ . +
f
m
AT
=
1 m m
We get an even simpler formula if we take AT as unit of distance.
We can do this by setting k r/AT. Then, in terms of k, Equa
tion ( 5.6) becomes
k = m
,
.
If, for t, we substitute successively the terms of the arithmetic
progression 0, 1 , 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,
. . .
, then we obtain, for k,
the geometric progression 1, m, m
t
,
m

, the position of
all these vertices is now determined because t is the number of
quarterturs and k is the factor by which AT is multiplied.
It can be shown that, if we now let t take on all positive real values
( instead of merly integers) we get the smooth spiral pictured in
Figure 5. 10.
THE SELF PERPETU ATI NG GOLDEN RECTANGLE 91
Problems
5.1 1 . Calculate some inbetween points on the spiral by using the values
!
.
.
for t . Find some additional points for other rational
values of t
5.12. What do we get if also takes on negative values? How big does R
become?
Once the curve is drawn it fnds for us all powers of m, for example
:
:
m
=
m corresponds to
that is,
m
t
.
m corresponds to
that is,
m
./:
{ m
.
corresponds to
that is,
/
I
2 '
I
quarterturn
2
I
3 '
1
quarterturn
3
5
' '
5
quarterturn
0
Figure 5. 11
92 US ES O F I NF I NI T Y
The curve
is called an entanqu/ar stra/ and also a /cqartt/mtc stra/ ( in this
case the reference is to logarithms to the unusual base m)
The
equation can be put into other standard forms :
by proper choices of the constants c, k, /. The advantage of this
is that 10, 2, and e ( 2. 718) are the more conventional bases for
logarithms.
The logarithmic spiral has two important properties :
i) If points P, Q and P', Q' subtend equal angles (() at T
then the triangles PTQ and P'TQ' are similar; see Figure 5. 11.
ii) At each point ( S) of the logarithmic spiral, there is a tangent
line and it makes a constant angle (1) with the radius vector T S.
Property i) is easy to prove and is left as an exercise. Property ii)
is more difcult ; one needs calculus to defne the tangent to the curve,
must show that this curve has a tangent everywhere ( this is easy in
this case provided one frst shows that the curve has a tangent at
some point) , and then one can prove property ii) .
Problems
5. 13. Explain how the curve in Figure 5. 11 can be used (equivalently to a table
of logarithms) to multiply numbers if these are represented by lengths
on a ruler which pivots at T andif we can measure and add appropriate
angles.
5. 14. What property of the curve corresponds to the use of the cbaractertettc
and mantteea of logarithms?
5. 15. By plotting the curve and measuring with a protractor, check that the
tangent to the curve at each point (8) makes an angle with the radius
vector T8 of about 73 [actually arc tan ( ../2 log f).
5.9. The Pentagon
Perhaps because mathematicians work as hard as they do, the
subject of mathematics rewards them with frequent bonuses. The
logarithmic spiral generated by the shower of golden rectangles, and
the apparance of the Fibonacci numbers in a sequence of approxima
tions to the golden mean
m
V 1
2
are pleasant and unexpected encounters.
THE SELF PERPETUATI NG GOLDEN RECTANGLE 93
Another bonus of this sort is the fact that m is also the ratio of
the side of a regular pentagon t
o
its diagonal. In Figure 5. 12( a) let
the equal diagonals I;I, , I
t
I, , I,I, , I,I; , I,I
t
be of unit
length; then each side is m. A proof follows.
(a) (b)
Figure 5. 12
We defne the regular pentagon by the condition that the arcs
I;I
t
, I
t
I, ,
.
, I, of the circumscribed circle are equal.
This implies that the chords I;I
t
, I
t
I, ,
, I,I; are equal.
Each arc takes up one ffth of the circumference and subtends a cen
tral angle of 275 radians or 72
,see Figure 5. 12(b) . There are fve
congruent central isosceles triangles whose angles are 54, 54, and
72, so each vertex angle of the pentagon is 108. Since triangles
I;I
t
I, ,
. . .
[see Figure 5. 12( a) 1 are isosceles, their base angles are
!( 180  108) = 30, zI
t
EI, = 180  2 30 = 108,
and
zI;EI
t
= 72
The substantial part of the proof begins now. We fnd frst that the
triangles EI
t
I, and I,I,I
t
in Figure 5. 12(a) have angles 30,
30, and 108 ; they are isosceles and similar. Denoting EI
t
by
V, I
t
I, by x, and rmembering that I
t
I, = 1 , we write the
proprtions :
v
x
thus
t
V = x .
Next we fnd easily that the angles of triangle EI,I, are 72,72,
30
,
so that this triangle is isosceles and
EI, = 1  v = x or v = 1  x.
94 US ES O F I NF I NI TY
Therefore
x
t
= I  x.
Since m is the positive root of this equation, we have shown that the
ratio of the side of a regular pentagon to the diagonal is m. Q
.
E. D.
5.10. Relatives of the Pentagon
The Greeks got two bonuses for studying the pentagon. First the
dodecahedron and ( somewhat more subtly) the icosahedron use the
pentagon, and also the golden rectangle. This will be seen in Figures
5 I3 and 5 I4, but no further discussion is ofered since this would
take us into solid geometry. ( The details are not difcult and the
reader is urged to consult the articles by Coxeter and Gardner previ
ously mentioned. )
Figure 5. 13. The regular
dodec ahedro n
(12 faces, 30 edges, 20 vertices)
Figure 5. 14. Corners of three
golden rectangles coincide with
corners of U regular icosahedron
(20 faces, 30 edges, 12 vertices)
Second the Greeks discovered the pentagram and thought it very
attractive; see Figure 5. I5 The Pythagoreans used it as some sort of
clubmembership pin and attached symbolic value to it. It is easy to
see in it the suggestion of a perpetual movement. From a mathe
matical point of view it is extremely interesting as a visualization of a
rotation of the plane which is of period fve ( repeating itself indef
nitely) , but is diferent from the rotation associated with the more
common pentagon.
THE S ELF PERPETUATI NG GOLDEN RECTANGLE 95
Figure 5.15
The reader will notice that the overandunder passing in the fgure
is reminiscent of illustrations of cloverleaf intersections on modern
highspeed highways. This overandunder drawing is the moder
way in mathematics of representing knc
If the pentagram is ac
tually made out of string it will be found that the string is knotted.
It is undoubtedly the purest coincidence that one can make a ver
good pentagon ( in fact a precise pentagon, theoretically) by tying a
knot in a strip of paper ; the illustrations in Figure 5
I0show how. If
this is done and held up to the light, there is seen the symbol of the
pentagram.
Figure 5.16
J

J
C H A P T E R S I X
Constructions and Proofs
This fnal chapter covers much the same material as the previous
pages of the book, but it is organized along diferent lines. The em
phasis here is upon construction and proof; the word "construction"
is used in a general sense that includes the defnition of infnite
processes. At the same time, the propositions we shall work out in this
chapter answer some of the problems mentioned earlier.
6.1 Indirect Prof
There have already been several examples in the book of indirect
proofs, also called proofs by contradiction. We showed through this
device that
V
2 is irrational, also that the golden mean is irrational.
Here we give a simpler sample of this most important technique.
ASERTION. There does not exist any pair of integers (positive or
negative) satisfying
4x + 6y = I5
PROOF. Assume for the sake of argument that there is such a pair
of integers; call them m and n. Then
I5 = 4m + 6n = 2(2m + 3n) .
This asserts that I5 is an even integer ( 2m + 3n being the quotient
on division by 2) which is false. This concludes the proof.
96
C O NS TRUCTI O NS AND P ROOF S 97
Problems
6. 1. Accept the fact that v2 is irrational. Prove from this fact that the
reciprocal of (I + ,) is also i rrational .
6.2. Prove that the form ax + y, where a and are i ntegers, represents
an integer c through some choice of integers x and y if and only if c is
divisible by the highest common factor of a and . Thus, for example,
the equation
I2x + I8y = c
is satisfed by integers x and y only when c is divisible by 6.
6.2 A Theorem of Euclidean Geometry on Parallels
as Proportional Dividers
HYPOTESIS: t and t' are two lines (called transversals) which
cut each of three parallel lines ll
'
l
2
'
la , as shown in Figure 0 I .
CONCLUSION: The lengths of the line segments cut of from t and
t' by the three parallel lines are proportional, that is,
AB A'B'
BC B'C'
!i
!t
Figure 6. 1
EXAMPLE. Inspection of the ruling in Figure 0. I shows that
AB 3
BC
=
4
confring the theorem.
and similarly
A'B'
B'C'
3
4 '
PROOF
.
The example also illustrates the proof in the general D~
tional case, that is when AB/BC is a ratio of integers, say mJn.
98 US ES O F I NF I NI T Y
a) T/e rattcna/ 0 ccmmsura/e case. In the rational case one
makes /
: , /
t
/
.
part of a system of rulings which exhibit the
ratio mJn One divides AB into m equal intervals and BC into n
equal intervals of the same length and constructs parallels at the
points of division.
To prove that the ratio mJn is now transferred to t' one has to
show that the segments on the right are all equal to each other.
For this purpose one constructs certain auxiliary segments, all
parallel to t and each forming one side of a ara//e/cqramwhen taken
with the corresponding segment of t, and forming one side of a tri
angle when coupled with the corresponding segment on t' . It is now
easy to prove that all these triangles are congruent; this rests on
three types of elementary propositions: i) triangles are congruent if
one side and all angles of one are equal to the corresponding parts in
another; ii) opposite sides of a parallelogram are equal ; iii) corre
sponding angles made by a line transversal to two parallels are
equal. See Figure 6.2.
(a)
S
(b)
Figure 0.2
(c)
b) T/e tnccmimnsura/e case . IrccJ q ccnttnuttq. When AB/BC
is not rational, the method j ust shown is not available. Let us now
suppose, for example, that AB/BC is our familiar golden ratio
H
.
,
where J
+
, = J

+ J


: , and the frst terms of the sequence J. are
J
:
= 1,
h
= 1 , J
.
= 2, J
t
= 3, Js
= 5,
.
. It can be shown
that, as n gets larger and larger, these Fibonacci ratios u

approach
the golden ratio m.t In symbols,
lim u

= m.
nm
t For a proof of this statement, see C. D. Olds, Conttnued Fracttont, to
appear in this series.
CO NS TRUC T I O NS AND P ROOF S
A
.
Figure 03
99

Now, letting the endpoints A and C of the segment AC stay
fed, we construct a sequence of points Bn on this segment such
that for each R,
= u
 ,
then the B

approach B and the ratios u

approach m. At each
B we construct a parallel to BB' ( see Figure 6.3) , S obtaining a
point B on A'C'.
10 US ES O F I NF I N I TY
It follows from the rational case that
A
'
B

= u
.
B, C
'

,
therefore, as n increases, these ratios approach m. What remains
for us to prove is the intuitively obvious fact that the point B' is
the limit of the constructed sequence B , B, , B ,
The reason for regarding this as an "intuitive fact" ( in mathe
matics intuition is aways respected but not relied upon too heavily)
is the true impression we get from Figure 0. 3,namely that the variable
point B, varies with the point B

in such a way that the segments
A
'
B, approach the segment A' B' ecause the segments AB
ap
proach the segment AB Another way of saying this is that the
points B, var ccnttnucus/q with the points B
 .
We shall show
that, if the points B, approach a limit, this limit must be B'. There
fore, to prove the continuity, we require a geometric principle ( not
present in the geometr of the Pythagoreans) from which we can
infer the existence of a limit. This principle is the geometric counter
part of the BolzanoWeierstrass principle, discussed earlier in the
book.
Using this principle we fnd that the sequence B , B , B ,
does have a limit point; call it B for the moment. B is a limit
point of two sequences, B , B , B ,
. . .
lying on A'B' and
B, , B , B ,
. . .
lying on B'C'. It follows now that B lies on
both segments A'B' and B'C'
,
but their only common point is B'
and S B = B'
. This concludes the proof of the theorem in case
the ratio is given as m. But we have used no particular properties
of m excepting only that it is a limit of a sequence of rational num
bers which approach it from above and below. This is true of all real
numbers, and therefore the proof is entirely general.
c) T/e tnccmmensura/e case. IrccJ q ccntradtcttcn. The Greek
geometers did not use the continuity proof just described but relied
on an indirect argument. Assume that the assertion is false, that is, that
either
AB A'B'
BC > B'C'
or
A'B' AB
B'C' > BC
mmmmmm
O
Figure 0.4
Let D be a point on t between A and C such that
AD m
DC n
I0I
( see Figure 6.4) . Then D lies between A and B, for otherwise
AB/BC would be less than or equal to
r
. Construct a line l4 through
D parallel to l
2
; it intersects t' at D'. Now D' lies between A'
and B' for otherwise the parallel segments BB' and DD' would
intersect. Hence
A'B'
A'D'
B'C' > D'C'
'
But by what we know about the rational case,
AJ AD A
D'C'

DC

r,
so that
B'C' >
r,
which contradicts the inequality (6. 1 ) . Thus the assumption that
AB A'B'
BC > B'C'
led to a contradiction and hence is false.
Similarly we can show that the assumption
A'B' AB
B'C' > BC
leads to a contradiction. Therefore
AB A'B'
BC B'C'
102 US ES O F I NF I NI T Y
6.3 Defnition by Recursion
A sequence of mathematical objects
frst object, second object, third object,
. . .
is said to be constructed recurstre/qwhenever the description of each
new object uses the fact that the previous one is already defned. For
example, consider the sequence of points
( 6.2)
on the xaxis whose coordinates 8

satisfy the following conditions:
8; I,
(6.3)
8 8
:
+
I
n '
n
P P
+ 1
B Z
Figure 0.
Note for contrast that the sequence of points
( 6.4)
on the xaxis, defned by their xcoordinates a
as
( 6. 5)
a

= n ,
2, 3, 4,
J
are independent of each other; that is, we can fnd Q6 from the
forula ( 6.5) without having found Q4 . To fnd I
s
we are directed
by ( 6.3) to fnd I 4 frst
.
Let us suppose that some Zeno among our acquaintances has chal
lenged us: "Does ( 6.3) defne an tn]ntte sequence?" He might say:
"I grant that I; is defned, and I
t
, and I, , and as many more
points as you have patience to construct, but no more. Thus ( 6.3)
only shows how to construct a large fnite sequence. " Mathematicians
do not hesitate to regard ( 6.3) as a defnition of the sequence (6.2)
for all values of n, i.e., n = I, 2, 3,
. . .
, just as they accept
(6.5) as a defnition of the sequence ( 6.4) for all values of n
The
reader will recall that this recursive construction was used in the
case of some of the later zigzags in Chapter 4, and also in the spiralling
rectangles and the zigzag in Chapter 5 where, it is hoped, he accepte
them as quite natural procedures.
CONS TRUCTI ONS AND P ROOF S I03
To argue the matter a little more fully, one might paraphrase ( 6.3)
as follows, in words. It consists of two parts. A ]rst ste, namely that
the frst number is I
t
= 1 + 1 = 2,
; 1 + 1 + 2 = 4,
. = 1 + 1 + 2 + 4 = 8;
 1 + , +
t
+
.
+
.;
, n = 2, 3, 4,
10 US E S O F I N F I N I T Y
Problem
0.3. Can you identify this last sequence?
6.4 Induction
A formal proof by mathematical induction has two striking land
marks, a ]rststeand an tnducttre ste Thus it is built exactly like a
recursive construction and for the same reason: It is an infnite se
quence of assertions arranged in an outwardly fnite form. Let us con
sider a few examples and discuss the general principle later.
EXAMPLE I
Asserttcn.The integer I + 4

is not divisible by 3for
any value of n = I , 2, 3,
PROOF BY MATHEMATICAL INDUCION
.
Ftrst ste. The assertion is
true for n = I, because I + 4 = 5 is not divisible by 3 The frst
step is proved.
Inducttreste. IF the assertion is true for some integer k ( that is,
IF I + 4
,
( I + 4
+
)  ( I + 4
) = 4
+
 4
,
= 4
.
( 4  I) = 3
) is
divisible by 3, therefore one of them is divisible by 3 if and only if
the other one is. t But since I + 4
+
is not.
This is the conclusion of the inductive step which is hereby proved.
Problems
0.4. Recall the defnition : An tnteqer m bae reetdue r moduo an tnteqer g
means r tetbe rematnderuben n tedtetdedy g. Prove the "Rule of 3".
An integer A and the sum of its digits have the same residue modulo 3,
for example, 47, 15 and 2 = 4 + 7 + 1 + + 8, both have residue
1 modulo 3
0.. Prove by induction :
1
1
+
2
+
. . .
+
n = 2 n(n
+
I), n = I, 2, 3,
5 ( with n = k) , we get
( 1
+
. .
, + k)
2
+ [k (
k + l ) ] ( k + 1)
+ (
k + 1 )
2
.
Notice now that the last two terms have a common factor, namely
(
k
+ 1)
2
. If we collect terms, this gives us
(0.8) ( 1
+
. .
.
+ k)
2
+ (k +
1)
3
.
So far we have not used our hypothesis ( 0.0) ,
if we now apply it to
(0.8) , this becomes
( 0
0) 1
+ 23 +
. . .
+
k
+ ( k
+
1)
3
.
In other words, the expression ( 0.7) has been transformed into ( 0.0)
.
This concludes the proof of the inductive step, that IF our assertion
holds for an intger k, THEN it holds for k +
1 ; the proof by induc
tion is now complete.
The /cqtc of these proofs is clear. We show that every one of an
infnite sequence of statements is true, by proving that we can go
through them one after another indefnitely and never fnd one that
is false. We make sure that we have not missed any by starting with
the frst.
The startling thing is that all of this is done in what looks like a
single ( inductive) stp but the fact is that this is a continuing step
which is constantly reapplied by the mechanism of the "IF
'
.
THEN
"
proof; there is really an infnity of arguments, one for each case.
10 US ES O F I NF I NI TY
The rtnct cJ t/e a tnqo which we used for showing the
irrationality of V and the rtnct cJ tn]nt descent, which we
us to show the irrationality of m, the golden section, are closely
related to proof by mathematical induction. It takes only a little
prctice to rephrase proofs so that they have one rther than the
other form. However, we shall leave these considertions to the
diligent reader. t
6.5 An Application to a Proof
The following is a valid proof of the fact that, for all n, the sum
of the frst n consecutive positive integers is ]n(n + 1) . We men
tioned this in Problem 6.5. The reader is urged to interpret the proof
below as an instance of defnition by recursion and prof by induction.
Let
8
=
1 + 2 + + . . . n
Then 8 may alsO be wrtten
8
=
n + n  1 + n  2 + . . . + 1
Adding these eXpressOns, One Obtans
28
=
n + 1 + n + 1 + n + 1 + . . . + n + 1
=
n (n + 1) .
Therefore
8 = ]n
( n+ 1 ) ,
and this holds for n
=
1, 2, 3, This argument is said to
have been rediscovered by C. F. Gauss ( 1771

1855) when he was
nine years old.
6.6 Fast Growing Sequences
The following story is a slightly moderized version of a calculation
performed by Archimedes, combined with a severl thousand years
old tale for children.
Suppose that in the year 1750 some pair of mosquitos took cover in
the state of New Jersey and suppose that they then generted a
!
See the discussion of mathematical induction in Chapter 1 of bbat Ie
Hatbemattcel by Richard Courant and Herbert Robbins. New York: Oxford
University Press, I94I
TEOREM
.
8ucset/atVareqtrenaseuence 8; , 8
t
, 8
:
,
cJ seqs, eac/ cJ u/tc/ ( aJter t/e ]rst) tncreases Jaster t/an t/e
recedtnqcne.Letusarranqet/eenttresqstem cJ numerstnarectanqu
/ar arraq, t/e numers 8, cccuqtuq t/e kth rcu, t/e nth term cJ
8, etnq tn t/e nth cc/umn cJ t/e arraq
Th t/e dtaqcna/ se
_
ence,
name/qt/e]rsttermcJ the]rst seuence,Jc//cued qt/eseccnd term cJ
t/e seccud seuence, Jc//cued q t/e t/trd term cJ t/e t/trd seuence,
andsco,tncreasesJastert/ananq cne cJ t/eqtren seuences.
II2 US E S O F I NF I N I TY
To illustrate this theorem, let 8, denote the sequence of kth
powers of n, i .e. , n

for n " I, 2, . . .
.
The frst few terms of
the frst few rows of the rectangular arry are displayed in Table 03.
2 3
4 9
8
8 2
I0 8I
4
I0
TABLE 0.3
2
0 7
30 49
6 I2
2I0 343
02 Iw0
8

32 243 I024 3I2
8
6 1w
The dtaqcna/seqence is :
8
6
I , 4, 27, 250, 3I25, ,
9 I0
8I I0
it is easy tsee that the general term is n

. This sequence increaes
transcendentally faster than n, and in fact it also happens tincrease
trnscendentally faster than 2

.
6.7 Dirichlet's Boxes or the Pigen Hole Principle
There is an important technique of proof known as the rtnctk
cJ Dtrtc//et
,
:
:+
,
has the tconsecutive pairs
Terefore, by the box principle, the residues ( mod N) of any
sequence of more than N
t
+ 1 numbers must contain at least two
identical pairs of consecutive terms.
1 14 US ES O F I NF I NI TY
EMPLE
.
If N " 3, the possible values for resdues are 0, 1 and 2.
All the possible 3
2
= 9 pairs then are
0, 0; 0, 1 ; 0, 2 ; 1, 0; 1, 1 ; 1 , 2 ; 2, 0; 2, 1 ; 2, 2
.
Consider the sequence of 1 1 " N
2
+ 2 > N
2
+ 1 consecutive
subway stations on the 8th Avenue Independent Line:
4, 14, 23, 34, 42, 50, 59, 72, 81, 86, 96
.
The sequence of residues ( mod 3) is
1, 2, 2, 1, 0, 2, 2, 0, 0, 2, 0;
since we have written down 3
2
+ 2 = 1 1 stops, we know that in the
sequence of residues some pair is rpeate. In fact, the second and
third terms and the sixth and sventh constitute identical pairs; so
do the ffth and sixth, and the ninth and tenth.
We could now ask: after how many terms of a sequence would we
get a repeated consecutive triplet of residues ( mod N) , or a repate
consecutive foursome? These questions can be answered by the sme
reasoning, but we shall stick: to pairs and apply our knowledge to a
special sequence, the Fibonacci sequence
1 , 1 , 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21,
( 6. 10) 89, 144, 233, 377, 610,
2584, 4181, 6765,
which is defne by the recursion relation
(6. 1 1 )
J
:
=
J
t
= I,
J
+i
=
J
+
J

;
34, 55,
987, 1597,
10946, 17711,
for n 2
We shall prove the following observation due to Lagrange: t
TEOREM
.
Let N e anqtnteqer qreater t/an cr eua/tc2
.
Th t/e
resmues ( mcd N) cJ t/e Ftcnacct seuence reeat aJter at mcst
N
2
+ 1 terms
; ,
h ,
that it is defned by the recursion formula (6. 1 1) . This relation tells
us that, once a pair of residues is repeated, Le., once we fnd a pair
Ik , IHI which has the same residues as an earlier pair Ii , IHl ,
then we must expect that Ik+
2
and li
+
2
have the sme residues,
that IH3 and IH3 have the sme residues, etc.
1 16 US ES O F I NF I NI TY
To see this, recall that 'J. and J, have the sme residue
( mod N) " means they have the sme remainder upon division by
N, i .e
.
,
J. = J + r. ,
or, written in another way,
J. r. ( mod N) ,
so that
J. J, ( mod N) .
The symbols u r ( mod N) , read 'u is congruent to r modulo
N", simply mean that 1  r is divisible by N. Note that, tJ
u r ( mod N) am x y ( mod N) ,
th
u + x r + y ( mod N) am u  x r  y ( mod N) ,
because u 1  r and x  y are divisible by N, then so is their sum
(u  r) + (x  y) = (u + x)  (r + y) , and so is their diference
( u r)  (x y) = ( u x)  (r  y)
.
In this notation the result from the box principle sys that there
are terms in the sequence for which
J. J, ( mod N)
It follows that
and
J
; J
.; ( mod N) .
J
. +J
: J, +J
.; ( mod N) .
But from the recursion relation ( 0
There
fore
]
t
J
.
t
( mod N) .
The sme reasoning shows that
J.
+
:
J
.
:
( mod N) ,
J.
+
J
+ ( mod N) ,
So far we have shown that the sequence of residues ( mod N) of
the Fibonacci sequence is periodic, but we must still show that the
cycle begins at the beginning, with the pair I , I
I
i+p
( mod N) (j s)
for all j from a certain one on, sy j " s
12
" 1. This means that
Lagrange's theorem is valid for any sequence stisfying the relation
an+1
"
an + an

l for n 2, no matter what values we take for
al
and .
Problems
0. I I . Consider the sequence I, I , , I3, 4I, built on the rule that,
for n > 2, a

,, = 2a

+ 3a,.:
Prove an analogue to the Lagrange
remark, but notice that modulo 0the sequence runs I, I, , I, ,
:
"
: ( cf.
Section 3
.
9
)
that the totality of rectangles of our set, each of which
has a rational circle inside of it, is at most a countable set of rec
tangles. Since the given set is uncountable, there must be rectangles
left over; that is, t/ere must erectanq/estn curqtren set u/tc/ dc nct
/are anq rattcna/ ctrc/es tnstde c] t/em
This remark has been emphasized because it is absurd. Ererq
rectangle has at least one rational circle inside of it (infnitely many.
as is easily seen) , and we have been led to a contradiction completing
the proof. The statement relied on above, that ererq rectangle has
rational circles inside of it, is true. The assertion that this is easily
seen is in conformity with mathematical tradition which attacks one
difculty at a time and is optimistic about later ones. The proof of
this assertion follows
.
Let a rectangle be given in the plane and let I denote its center;
see Figure 07
= I
I0
:
+ 4 I0 2 I0
+ 8 I0 I0

1
I0
I0
1 1
I
I4281 + 0I4281 + 
I0
t
=
I4281I4281
1
I I
Similarly,
I0
t
. . t
= IIIIII
9 9
I I
0
I0 9 I0
I0
U
II II
I I
= 0
I0 + I I0
+

I0
=
0I0I0I
99 99
Every terminating decimal may be written in the form a/10
k
where
a is an integer ; for example,
312
312
I0
, wherea the
sum of H and h is ] = I
II Since
I
n  m = n
m
the method is clear. For example, to divide 1by 9 we look up the reciprocal
of 9 in the table of Figure 2
4 and write
I
1 9 = 1
= 1
III
9
111
S OL UTI ONS TO P ROB L EMS I23
2. I2 Construct the circle of radius PQ with center Q; see Figure 21. Using
F as center, and the same radius, swing the compass to fnd the points
PI and QI of intersection of this circle with the first circle.
Next, open the compass to the width PIQI draw circles with center
PI and QI respectively. One of their intersections (the one to the right
of P and Q) is the desired point R.
To see that P, Q, R are collinear and PQ = QR = d, observe that
PIPQ and QIPQ are two equilateral triangles with common base PQ
which is bisected by the segment PIQI in the point M (see Figure 2. 1) ,
and that PIQIR is an equilateral triangle with base PIQI and whose
altitude MR lies on the line through P and Q.
Moreover, if PQ = d, then
and
3d
QR = MR  MQ =
2
d
2
= d
3d
2
'
This method shows us how to construct an infnite sequence of points
on a line.
Simply pick two points, call them P and Q, get R, and re
peat the above construction on Q and R, getting R', etc.
2
.
13 Suppose P is to the left of Q. Line up the ruler with P and Q so
that its right end is at Q and make a mark on the ruler at the place
where F falls. This mark divides the ruler into two parts, one of length
PQ = d on the right, and one of smaller length d' on the left. After
drawing the segment PQ, line up the ruler with the segment PQ so that
the division mark on the ruler falls on Q. Then the right end of the ruler
will be at a distance d from Q, on PQ extended. Denote the endpoint
of this extension by QI
.
Next move the ruler in the direction from Q
to QI along the line until the division mark is on the new point QI
.
The right endpoint of the ruler will be at a point Q2 on the line through
F and Q, at a distance 2d from Q. Continue this process indefnitely
in order to extend the line through P and Q indefnitely to the right.
In order to extend the line through P and Q to the left, we j ust
refect the method j ust described.
If d' were longer than d, the same method would work but it would
be more economical to interchange the roles of d and d'
2. I4 Once the direction of the road and the point at which it is to enter the
mountain are determined, it is only necessary to line up every three con
secutive guideposts. This can be checked at each advance.
2. 15 The successive midpoints approach the point which is at a distance from
A equal to J of the length of AB
2.20 (a) Divide a segment into equal parts, hold one part, and give 3pieces
away. Then one part remains and we hold t of the amount which has
been distributed. If we repeat the same process over and over, each
time dividing the one remaining part into equal pieces, we shall
continue to hold t of the total amount distributed and a smaller and
smaller amount of the original segment will remain to be distributed.
I24 US E S O F I N F I N I TY
Thus
I I I I
a
+
m
+ +
e e e
4 2 I2
Similarly,
(b)
I I I I
a
+
m
+ +
. . .
1
'
8 b I2
I I I I
(c)
m
+ +
&
+
e + e
=
a
I0 I0 I0 9
2
2I Divide the segent into n equal parts, hold m of them, leave m of
them to work on and give away the remaining n  2m parts
.
Thus
m
+
(n  2m)
p
2
,
3q
2
pq
p
2
g
pq,
q(3q  p)
=
p(p  q) ,
which implies, in contradiction to our initial assumption, that
3q p
q p q
(b) Assume that p/q
=
2
2,
(  2)
( 2) ,
L
2
2
,
where 2 < .
2.23 From
@
1
=
2
2,
(  2)
(1 2)
L
1 2
2
I2
contradicts the asumption that (I can be represented as a ratio of two
integers, and , where is the smallest possible denominator.
224 \ = \
@
..
.
\ ?
@
2{
g
If
"
8
/, then 2
{
= /, or
V
= /2 (a contradiction since ? is irrational) .
2
and k
< n < ( k+ I)
imply that
k <
k <
0 <
Since
= n
,
P
(
k
k)
k
< (k +
I)
,
< k +
I ,
< (k
+
l),
<
n k,
(n k),
n k
where
k
k <
I20 US E S O F I NF I N I TY
If there were a fraction whose square is the integer A, we would write
it with as small a denominator s possible, say /q = , and q I
by assumption, so q
+ a. (I0 I + I) + a;
+ a. + a.., + a..
+
.
+ a. + a;
Since the frst expression on the right is a multiple of 3, a has the same
remainder upon division by 3as the second term on the right, i . e. the sum
of the digits of a
If a. + a.., +
+ a; < I0, the proof is complete. If not, let
a.
+
a,,
+
+ a;= = ,I0
,
+ ,.,I0'
' +
+ . I0 + ; ,
and proceed in the same manner as above ; eventually the sum of digits
will be less than I0, and we shall have reached the root number r(a)
This shows that a and the sum of its digits and the sum c of the
digits of etc. down to r(a) are all in the same residue class modulo 3
2
I0I0I0 ,
a. = I0 I0 I0 I ,
a. =
I0 I0
.
I0 ,
and note that the period of a. is k.
(c)
I0I0I0 I0I0I0I
S O L UTI O NS TO P RO B LE MS 127
C H A P T E R T H R E E
3.1 The proof of this theorem for the case AB' : B'B = m: n, where m and
n are positive integers, is essentially the same as the proof given in
Chapter 6, Section 6.2(a) . For m =
\
, n = 1 , the theorem can be
proved by the methods used in Sections 6.2(b) and 6.2(c) for the incom
mensurable case.
3.2 Such a rectangle does not exist because it would lead to the equation
1 0 x, where x is the length of the other side
.
But this contradicts
the rule of arithmetic : x 0 = 0 for all x whatsoever.
3.3 Construct the right triangle ADC (see Figure 3.6) with legs of lengths x
and 1. Draw the perpendicular to the hypotenuse AC through C. Ex
tend line AD to meet this perpendicular at B The segment DB then
has the desi red length y = I/x because the length of the altitude CD of
right triangle ACB is the mean proportional between the lengths of
AD = x and DB = y:
y
1 x
3.4 The parabola y = 2
8. just
fnd a point whose distance from the horizontal axis is z, its distance
from the vertical axis is \.
3
0 To fnd approximately the cube root a of a number a one determines
the point of intersection P of the graph of y = x
'
with the horizontal
line y = a and meaures the abscissa of P. The coordinates of P are
(a, a) .
3
8 A careful construction will show that as n gets larger and larger, the
quantity vn +
I  vn becomes smaller and smaller.
3
9 Let a = vn + I, = .. n. Then
or
( Vn + I + .. nH
Vn + I  .. n) = I,
v
n

..
n =
V
I
n
+
I +
..
n '
Clearly, as n gets larger and larger the denominator V n +
+
V
increaes, and it follows from the above identity that the quantity
..  .. n becomes smaller and smaller; that is, the diference be
tween .. and n can be made as small as we wish (it is always
greater than 0) by taking n large enough.
3. 10 We multiply the expression by
v2n
+
+
v
21
v2n
+ + ..
and obtain
..
n
2n
+
I 2n
..
+
..
As n gets larger and larger, lin becomes smaller and smaller so that
this expression approaches
I
V
2
2
V
2
4
S OL UTI ONS TO P ROB L EMS I29
3. II If 0 < y < r, then (see Figure 3. I) , sin y < y < tan Yj dividing
by tan y, we obtain
Y
cos Y < < I
tan y
As Y decreases, cos y approaches Iso that yltan y is squeezed between
I and a number close to I
.
3. I2 (a) PROOF OF THEOREM 3 I Let 8 be the sequence x" x" X3 ,
having the limit L, and suppose that y" y. , Y3 ,
. .
, is any
subsequence 8' of 8 (Le. , 8' is an infnite sequence whose terms
are some or all of the terms of 8, arranged in the order in which they
occur in 8)
Now 8 has the limit L means that the sequence (x,  L) ,
(x.  L) , (X3  L) ,
. . .
approaches 0, that is, for every integer n,
there are at most a fnite number (depending on n) of terms Xk L,
k I , 2, 3, " ' , which are numerically larger than lin. But if
8'is a subsequence of 8, then every term of the sequence (y,  L) ,
(Y
2
L) , ' is identical to some term Xk  L, so that, for every
integer n, there can be at most a fnite number of terms Yk'  L,
k' I, 2, 3,
. .
" numerically larger than lin.
Thus, every subsequence of an infnite sequence with limit L also
has the limit L
I
k
l
=

n
I
k
l
m m
for all but a fnite number of terms. This argument holds for every
integer m.
(d) We prove frst : if X" X. , X3 ,
. . .
has the limit L and y" Y"
Y3 ,
. . .
has the lim
i
t M, then X'Y" X'Y" X3Ya , has the
limit LM.
130 US E S O F I NF I NI TY
Following the hint, we write
.y,  LH = x.y.  x,M + x,M  LH
= x. (y, H) + H(x,  L).
By assumption, for every integer n.
1

L
I
< and
I
H
I
<
!
n n
for all but a fnite number of x, y.
Moreover, since the , have
a limit, all but a fnite number are certainly bounded by some con
stant, say C
Thus
I
x,y.
L
M I
I
x
d I
y
, HI + H(x.  L
I
1 1
C + H = (
C + H
)
n n n
Now, given any integer m, we can achieve
l
. y. L
MI
!.
m
merely by choosing the integer n so that
C + H 1
<
,
n m
thus establishing, for every integer m,
l
x.y.
L
M I
1
< 
m
for all but a fnite number of terms x.y. .
To prove Theorem 3.4, that the limit of x , x , is L
2
,
use the above result with y, = x. and L = H
To prove that the
limit of xt , x ,
. . .
is L
k
, we simply repeat the argument k  1
times.
3.13 (a) This problem is not at all easy. Take the case 0 <r < 1. One standard
proof runs a follows :
Since I/r > I , I/r = I + h, h > 0. Now
,
f
= (1 + h
)
f > 1 + nh
for every n, and so (1 + h)f increases without limit as n increases
.
Therefore the reciprocal, r, goes to zero.
The assertion that (1 + h)f increases without limit as n ^
can also be proved by appeal to the BolzanoWei erstrass principle
described in the next section
.
For if L is any number such that
(1 + h)f L
S OL UTI ONS T O P ROB L E MS
for all n, then
(I
+ b)

L
= L' < L
I + b
I3I
for all nj and so, given any upper bound L to this sequence, there
would exist a ema//erupper bound L'. Such a sequence is incompati
ble with the BolzanoWeierstrass principle.
Let us suppose now that r = I. Then r
t
= I , r = I , r = i ,
and each number of the sequence (r  I) , (r
t
 I ) ,
. . .
equals 0
Since no term of this sequence exceeds lin, n > 0, the sequence
approaches 0and r, r
t
, r, has the limit I when r = I
.
(b) From the identity
a(t  x) (I + x + x
t
+
+ x

t
) = a(I x

)
we get
a t + ar + ar
+
q
ar
:
a(I
then, since r

approaches 0if I r ( < I, we have
I  r

limit
n m I r
r

)
r
I < r < I
Hence, the sum of any infnite geometric series a + ar + ar
t
+
00
,
2
00U
,
333333333
,
3
00 0 ,
2w00 ,
000000 0 000 ,
I .w00
.
,
4.000 ,
.200
.
,
We shall construct a number whose kth decimal is always one or the
other of the digits 2 or 3 but difers from the kth decimal of the kth
number in this list.
Let us choose 3 U its frst decimal since 3 is diferent from the frst
decimal of the frst number. Let us choose 3for the second decimal of the
number we are constructing because 3is diferent from the second decimal
of the second number in the list. Similarly, let us choose 3( =0) for the
third decimal , 2( = 3) for the fourth decimal , 3( = 0) for the ffth,
3(= 0) for the sixth, 3( = 0) for the seventh, etc. , until we come to a
kth number with 3in the kth placej then we will choose 2.
132 US E S O F I NF I N I TY
3. 15 Before clasifying the letters of the alphabet, we shall consider, for the
sake of defnitenes, the letter T. We shall simplify the situation by con
sidering an uncountable set of identical (i.e. congruent) letters T (e.g
.
with a stem of one inch and a top bar of one inch) whose vertices are
labelled A, B, C, see Figure 3. 18(a).
On any piece of paper of fnite dimensions, an uncountable set of such
T's must contain an uncountable subset of T's such that the vertices
labelled A are within 1, say, inch of each other. In this set, there is an
uncountable subset such that the vertices labelled B are within 1 inch
of each other. And in this set, there is an uncountable subset such that
the vertices labelled C are within 1 inch of each other.
Now then, let ABC and A'B'C' [see Figure 3. 18(b ) be two T's of
the kind decribed. They cross. This can be proved by elementary geome
try from the fact that a straight line divide the plane into two regions
(called the two etdee of the line) , and segments connecting points on op
posite sides of the line must cross the line. This establishes the impossi
bility of writing an uncountable number of congruent noncrossing T's
on a page. Note that if we merely required the distances AA' and BB'
to be small, then the T's could possibly stand as they do in Figure 3.19,
and not cross
.
We shall not treat the case of T's of varying sizes here,
but the same result can be proved.
All letters of the alphabet that contain a confguration such as we en
countered in the letter T (i. e. an intersection of two segments or curves
where at least one of the segments extends beyond the point of intersec
tion) are in the same class as T. They are A, 8, E, F, H, P, O,
k, T, X Y.
For all other letters, it i s possible to scribble an uncountable set of them
on a page. Figures 3.2O(a) , (b) illustrate this fact for the letters I, O
respectively. In each cae, the fact that a line segment contains an un
countable number of points give the clue.
C H A P T E R F O U R
4. 1 The phrae "if this limit exists" ha been omitted. The statement
L = lim.. L. makes sense only if the L. have a limit, and in this cae
it aserts that L is the value of this limit.
4.2 The direct computation of the lengths 8, , 8
,
. . .
of the sides of equi
lateral triangles whose baes are on the xaxis and whose vertices lie on
the curve y = x2 is somewhat awkward; fortunately the question posed
in the problem can easily be answered without such a computation : The
length of the resulting zigzag is again 2 because, a in Example 2, it is
twice as long a the distance from (1, 0) to the origin.
4
.3 We calculate the distances
1
B
T =
2 '
B
,
t
T =
which approach zero. Hence T is the limit of the sequence
B
,
The distances B
,B
X
n
2
1 +
!
+
* * .
+
2 2
.
1 '
When these fnite geometric progressions are summed, they have the form
XI .1 x, = 01
X3 = \
I 
* .
, X
n
=
0
1 
_ . * * _
these numbers come arbitrarily close to
0 since the sequence ]
{,
* .
approaches zero. This shows that lim
n
. X
n
= (, and this is
the meaning of the phrae "the abscissa of Z is the limit o.the abscissas
of D, , D, ,
To prove that the ordinates
0 \
YI
Y. =
2 2
\
Yn
2
'
'
Y3
=
+
'
2
+
.

. .
+
,
_
}
nI
,
. . .
of D, , D
1
1

+
(

n

=
!
As n  ( l)
n
approaches zero so that the Yn
have the limi tV
2
/3.
From the fact that the abscissas have the limit v
2
and the ordinates
have the limit
V2
/3, we can prove that the sequence D, , D
,
*
has
the limit Z. (,
0
/3) by the Pythagorean Theorem. We express the
distance D,Z by
(
DZ: (
0
X.
)
! +
Y
n
, .
The terms on the right approach zero a n 
1
+
2
'
2 2
'
X3
@
o
1
+
!
!
~
+
2 2 4 8
1
2
n1
o
2
.
+
. .
_
1
_
16 6 2
n
2
+
!
1
!
+
1
~ !
+
* .
2 4 16 6 Z
o
1 (=_
i
1
(~_
t:
+
2 m
3y
2
for n
2, n even,
X
"
o
2
so that li m x.
nm
. . . 0
"
2
3Y2
hm X
.+I = bm x. hm 
2 4
= 
n^m nW n^m
30
2
1

Y3
1
. . . .
,
2
,
2
'
Y2
1
~
1 1 1
~
+
.
+
2 4 8 16
.
1 1 1
2
L
1
.
4
+
16 2
.

2
 I  !
+
2 4
y
2
2
o
1
.
=_
1
~ ,
2
m
1

]

1)
1
~
g
.
_
1
16
2
0
2
for n
2, n even,
and
so that
S OL UTI ONS TO PROBL EMS
Y
n1
= Y"

v
2
 1m Y" =
.. 1m Y
nI .
nw 5 n=m
135
As we have seen in the solution to Problem 4
,
the second term in parentheses being negative (see Figure 4I0)
The frst
term on the right is precisely
V
/(2n) . We have no formula for the
second term; but since the sequence J
(n = 1 , 2, 3, .
.
.
) con
verges to /*, we know that all such terms are small when n is large
enough, by the very defnition of limit. Thus we can be sure that when n
is large enough, the right hand side is the diference of two small numbers
and is small. This shows that /, j is near to /* (for large n) and con
cludes the proof.
4
8
US ES O F I NF I N I TY
This also proves that the limit of the projections is the projection of
the limit of a sequence of points, provided they have a limit. If p. is
the limit of the projections, P the proj ection of the limit Q, then
lim._" P .p. = 0 and lim . .P fP = 0 imply that P and " coincide.
Let
1 1 1
Sf
1 
/
3
1
n
Since for k > 1 we have k > k 1 , it follows that
1 1 1 1
< and <
k k 1 k k(k 1)
Therefore
(1)
S. < 1
1 2
Now we observe that
1
(k I)
k
1
2 3
1
k 1
1
k
and rewrite the right member of (1) in the form
(
n
for all k > 1
.
1
l
)
n
for k 2, 3, . . .
S. < 1
+
+
'
,n 1

.`
1
=
2 
n
This proves that S .< 2, for n
1, 2,
OPI
(k
1
Next, we express OPk1 in terms of the previous one and substitute in (1) :
F
1 1
OPk
(k
2)
2
+
(
k
~
1)
2
'
Continuing in this manner we fnd that
1 1 1
OP: = OP 1  
+
/ 3
2
(k 1)
2 '
and, since OP1 = 1, we have (in the notation used in the solution to the
previous problem)
OP:
1 SkI .
We have seen that S .< 2 for all n. Hence OP < 1 2 = 3 and
(2) OP .< V for all n
"
sin al + sin a
2
+
.
"
Va
+
2
0
+

1 +  +  + ' "
1 _ 1 1
o
2
_
:
so that the sum of the angles exceeds the harmonic series (multiplied by
the constant factor t/) and hence is infnite.
The sequence PI , P2 , clearly cannot have a limit point for,
if it did, all points after a certain point (say PN) on would have to be in
some small sector of the circle, and this is clearly not the cae.
4.10 (
a)
1 1 1 1 _ I 1
.
2
+
4
+
6
+
' "
 2
1 +
'
+
3
+
' '
'
.
The quantity in brackets is the harmonic series treated earlier. It was
found to be infnite. Hence, a constant times the harmonic series i s
infnite, and the series (a) diverges.
1 1 1 1 1 1
(b)
3
+
;
+
1 1
+
. . 
_
_
1
+

4
'

2


1
+
_

1
+
. . .
+
_
n
1
1
+
since
for n .1, 2,
13 US ES OF I NF I NI TY
each term of the series (b) is greater than the corresponding term in
the diverging series
+
1
+
. .
4
+
. .
=
_
1
+
+
. . .

.
1
1 1
> 
v
i
n
1
+
Vn
+
1 1
>
&
+

1 2
Hence the sequence (c) diverges.
1 1
+
&
+
e e
+

+
3 n
(d) The terms of this sequence are even larger than the corresponding
terms of (c) and therefore (d) certainly diverges.
4. 11 (a) If for every line in the plane the projection of F is the limit of the
projections of , , then this is true, in particular, for the two per
pendicular axes of a coordinate system. Denote the projections of
, on the xaxis and on the yaxis by x. , y. respectively, and thoe
of F by x and y. Then, see Figure 4. 15(a) ,
(F,F) (x.  x)
+
(y.  y),
and since the x. approach x and the y. approach y,
lim (F,F) 0
nm
and the , approach F.
(b) Clearly, this result cannot be deduced from the fact that the given
data are true for j ust one line, as Example 5 (page 08) shows.
(c) If the given data are true for any two nonparallel lines, say /, and
/
, take one (say II) to be the xaxis. It can be shown (by methods
of analytic geometry or linear algebra) that any line in the plane, for
example the yaxis, can be expressed as a linear combination of two
given nonparallel lines. Moreover, the projections y. of , on the
yaxis can be expressed in terms of the x. and the projections Z of
, on the line , [see Figure 4. 15(b) ] , and the y. have a limit y
if the x. and the Zg have limits
.
Thus the problem that F is the
limit of the , can be reduced to the problem solved in (a) .
C H A P T E R F I V E
5. 1 Assume that
v
is rational , i. e. that the diagonal of a unit square has
length
),
/, where
), and . are integers. Then a square whose sides
are . units long has a diagonal of length
)
,
S OL UTI ONS T O P ROB L EMS I39
N ow construct the following se:uence of right isosceles triangles :
The frst has legs of length . and a hypotenuse of length
)
, , see
Figure 5.4(b) . Erect a perpendicular to the hypotenuse at a point which
divides it into segments of lengths : and ), . This perpendicular
cuts of a corner of the frst triangle, and this corner is our second triangle,
clearly similar to the frst, with leg of length
t
and hypotenuse of length
)t
:
=
)
t
t
= 2:  ),  (
)
,  :) = 3. 2
.
and its hypotenuse has length
: =
t
 :
=
).
: (3: 2,) = 3,  4:
We continue cutting of corners, always obtaining an isosceles right
triangle similar to all the previous ones
.
The leg of the nth triangle
has length

, its hypotenuse has length
 , and these lengths satify
the relations
Since
., = ., ., we may express the lengt.h

of the nth leg
by
n > 2,
that i s, in terms of the lengths of the legs of the previous two triangles.
Now consider the sequence . ,
t
, : ,
.
. Since ), and :
are integers,
t
= ),  .
is an integer,
= :
2
t
i s an integer and,
in general ,  = .
t
 2
.:
is an integer for all n > 2
It is clear
from our construction that the legs of subsequent triangles decrease in
length, i .e. that
. >
t
> :
>
Thus the asumption that V = ,/
:
is rational has led to an infnite
decreasing sequence of positive integers, and no such sequence exists.
We conclude that is irrational.
In order to apply this method to 0, asume that v5 = r,/t
t
where
r, and t, are integers. Blow up the rectangle of Figure 5.
5 so that its
sides are t, , 2t, , then its diagonal is r,

If Fk_1 Fk =
1
+
) )
+
(a  a
.,) <
(a
.t
 a:
)
Next we write a

,
t
in the form
a.:
(a
.t  a) (a a.,)
(a
t
 a. ) a.
and apply inequality (2) to each expression in parentheses :
1 1
a
.: <
2
1
  a:
)
+
2
~
(a
t
 a.)
+
  
  a:
) a
.
=
  a,
)
1

1 j a.
If !. is the nth term of the Fibonacci Sequence, the formula for the
nth power of m is
m
= (
l)"Q,~1  1
m)
.9 The way the vertices are ordered in succesive rectangles refects the
fact that the shorter side of each rectangle (i.e. the line j oining the 2
vertices named lat in the ordering) is the longer side of the next one (i.e
.
the line between the vertices listed in the middle position) . In each case
the vertex named frst is the one from which the 4 line is drawn to the
point that is the frst named vertex of the next rectangle.
5. 10 The length of each successive segment of this zigzag is the length of the
preceding segment reduced by the factor m < I Hence, the length of
the zigzag is the sum of the infnite geometric series
II
\
+ v
2
m
+ v
.
m
+ v2
.
m
=
\ \
I m m
The solution to Problem 3. I3 (p. 2) proves that the formula for the
sum of an
y
infnite geometric series with frst term a and ratio r < I
is a/(1  r) .
Number of quarterturns Distance from T to
(degrees) about T point on the spiral
I/0 (I) AT
m
. is
I/3 () AT m
. t
IJ2
(
4
AT m
:t:
/0 I)
AT m

tt
4/3 (I20) AT m
t
3/2 (I3) AT m
t:
/3 (I) AT m

t
/2 (Z) AT m

t
2n I
2
n
2
I
9
j AT m


.
tit
I Assume to the contrary that there exist integers a and such that
Then
or
(1 0) " 1
.
I 0
" ,
a

a
0 =


1
=
a a
But if and a are integers, ~ a is also an integer, and the lat
equality states that 0 is rational, which is false. Therefore the re
ciprocal of 1 0 is not rational.
0
2 Let d be the highest common factor of a and , and let x and y
be integers. Then the integer
a y = c = a'dx b'dy = d(a'x 'y)
is clearly divisible by d
such
that
then the integers z = c'x, , y = c'y, will satisfy
a'x 'y = c',
and hence also ax y = c.
03 2
, n = I, 2, 3,
: .
04 When N = 1, N and the sum of its digits clearly have the same residue
modulo 3
When
r + I < 3, we have
k + I " 3 + (r + I ) ,
otherwise
k + I 3( + I)
If the lat m (m 0) digits of a number k are all 9's, these 9's will
become O's when Iis added to k, but the frst digit which is not a 9 will
be increaed by I. Since the sum of the digits of k is 3e + r, we may
write the sum of the digits of k + I in the form
(3e + r) + I 9m,
which is equivalent to
3(e 3m) + (r + I)
Thus k + I and the sum of the digits of k + I have the same residue
modulo 3
Hence
2kl
 kl
+ k
t k' + 2k + I ,
that is, 2kl > ( k
+
I).
This fact does not enable us to prove that Z" exceeds n2 for all n > 2
because, in order to use that Z
I
2, we had to asume that 2
.
> k
t
,
and it is ml true that 2 exceeds 3.
I40
0.8
US ES O F I NF I NI TY
(a
) For N = 1 we have (2
1
)
1
= 2 = 2
!
1
2
) .
If, when N =
k
,
(2
)
= 2
(\
then
(2
k
+
'
)
k
+l
= (2
.
2)
k
+
'
=
(2
2)
(2
2)
= (2
k
)
k
2
2
k
2
= 2
(1}
= 2
( k
+
1
)2(
(b) From
2N
> N2 if N > 4 we get
(
2
N
)
N
>
(N2)
N
or
2(N
2
)
>
(N2)
N
.
Thus, if we take n = N2, we have that for N > 4, 2f > n
N
.
Bllt from the proofs of Theorems 2 and 3 we know that for N = 2
and N = 3, 2f > n
N
only if n exceeds N2
.
This suggests that we
can prove the inductive step of Therorem N by showing that for all
n > N2, 2f > n
N
0
9 If 2
k
> k
N
, and
k
> N2, then
so that
2
k
1
>
2
k
+
1
= 2
.
2
k
> 2k
N
= k
N
k
N
> k
N
N2k
N1
k
N
N
k
N1
k
N
N
k
N
1
k
N
N
k
N
1
k
N
N
kN1
k
N
+ N
kN
1
kN
+ N
kN
1
(
k
I)
N
.
N(N
N(N
N(N 
2
l
) k
N
'
l
) k
N
1)
kN
N(N  1)
2
k
N
N(N 
+
2
1)
k
N
N(N  I)(N  2)
3
N(N  1) N(N  I) (N  2)
+
~ k
N
+
2 2 3
N(N  I)(N
2'
3
 2)
kNa
k
N
3
kN
3
N(N  1) N(N  . 1)(N  2)
k
N
k
N1
2! 3!
N(N  1)
.
I
N
 ( N  2)
k
N(NI)
I
(N  I) !
S O L UTI O NS TO P ROB L E MS I4I
0
.
It follows from Problem 0.9 that 2
n
> n
k
+
! provided that n > (k + I)
t
,
which is all we need to complete the proof that 2
n
> n
N
for all integers
N and n such that n > N
t
(mod N)
It follows that
and
or
By the same argument
ai
+3
" ak+3(mod N),
ai
+
, " a
+
, (mod N),
which shows that the sequence of residues (mod N) of the sequence given
by a
.
tl = 2a
.
+ 3a._1 is periodic.
Let the period of the sequence be p. Then
aj " aj
+
p (mod N)
U
T)
from some j on, say j = T. Suppose aT is not the frst term of the
sequence. From the recursion formula we have
Hence,
3aT_I " 3aT

Itp (mod N),
or
148 US ES OF I NF I NI TY
Clearly, we can conclude that
aTI  .qg (mod N)
only if we asume that 3 and N are relatively prime; otherwise, it does
not necessarily follow that N is a factor of aT_l  aT_I+p . Since T is a
a fnite integer, this process applied successively to T  i , T  2,
T  3, eventually must lead to
al  ai+ (mod N)
.
Thus, the sequence of residues (mod N) , N 2, of the sequence
defned by af+! ' 2af + 3af_I , n 2 (where the initial values al
and a
t
may be any given integers) is periodic. If 3 and N are relatively
prime, then the periodic part begins with the residue of al .
6.
12 The residues (modN) , N 2, of any sequence defned by
with arbitrary i nitial integers al and a
t
are periodic ; the repetition of
a pair occurs within at most N' + 2 terms. If N and { are relatively
prime, then the periodic part begins with the residue of al .
6. 13 The sequence of residues (modN) of any sequence defned by
n 3,
ha a repeated consecutive triplet within NI + 3 terms
.
If N and
are relatively prime, the sequence of residues (modN) is periodic from
the beginning on
.
6. 14 In general , the sequence of residues (modN) of a sequence ai ,
. . . , af , .
.
. built (after the nth term) on a rule expressing the
(n + l)th term as a linear combination of the preceding n terms is
periodic from the beginning on and will repeat within N
n
+ n terms
whenever N ha no factors greater than Iin common with the coefcient
of the earliest term in the recursion formula.
6. 15 The lines x a for all rational a constitute a countable infnity of
lines since the set of all rational numbers is countable
. The same is true
for the sets
7
, x " C y ~ d for rational , c, d. Since all
special rectangles are formed by combining 4 sides, each from one of
these sets, we obtain a o a o a o a 0 ' a ; possible special rectangles
.
(This even includes the degenerate rectangles in which a pair of opposite
sides coincides. Therefore, the nondegenerate special rectangles certainly
constitute a countable set. )
6. 16 Let P be the point (z; , y.) , and let d be the minimum distance
from P to any point on the given rectangle. Then there exist rational
numbers j < id and y < id such that
x = x;+
I
and
are rational, and numbers EI < ld and E2 < id such that
y 70 + EI and y ~ y. E! '
'
S O L UTI O NS TO P RO B L E MS I49
are rational. It follows that the sides of a special rectangle R lie on the
lines x
=
a, x
=
a
'
, Y =
b,
y
=
b' , and the point is inside of this
rectangle. Furthermore, since the length of the diagonal of R is
V
(81 + \) + (EI + c,)
< d,
the distance from F to the farthest point on R is less than the mini
mum distance from F to the given rectangl e. Hence, the special rec
tangle lies entirely within the given one.
0. II If we assume that there is no point F in the set X such that every rec
tangle containing F contains uncountably many points of X, then
every point in the set X must be inside at least one rectangle containing
a countable set of points of X. In this case, the solution to Problem 0. I0
shows that every point of X is inside of a special rectangle which is
entirely within the rectangle containing a countable set of points belong
ing to X, and so also contains at most a countable infnity of points of
X. Now, we have proved (Problem 0.I) that the set of all special rec
tangles is of power , therefore, the set of special rectangles with
which we are concerned is certainly countable. Moreover, since each of
these special rectangles contains a countable set of points of X, it follows
from o
g that the set X is countable. But this contradicts
the hypothesis that the given set is uncountable; hence, there must exist
some point F in X such that every rectangle containing F contains
uncountably many points belonging to the set X
.
0