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# CHAPTER 2

## The Real Numbers

2.1. The Algebraic and Order Properties of R
Definition. A binary operation on a set F is a function B : F F !F.
For the binary operations of + and , we replace B(a, b) by a + b and a b,
respectively.
Field Axioms of R
The real numbers are a eld (as are the rational numbers Q and the complex
numbers C). That is, there are binary operations + and dened on R 3
(A1) a + b = b + a 8a, b 2 R.
(A2) (a + b) + c = a + (b + c) 8a, b, c 2 R.
(A3) 9 0 2 R 3 0 + a = a and a + 0 = a 8a 2 R.
(A4) 8a 2 R, 9 a 2 R 3 a + (a) = 0 and (a) + a = 0.
(M1) ab = ba 8a, b 2 R.
(M2) (ab)c = a(bc) 8a, b, c 2 R.
(M3) 9 1 2 R, 1 6= 0, 3 1 a = a and a 1 = a 8a 2 R.
(M4) 8a 2 R, a 6= 0, 9
1
a
2 R 3 a

1
a

= 1 and

1
a

a = 1.
(D) a(b + c) = ab + ac and (b + c)a = ba + ca 8a, b, c 2 R.
11
12 2. THE REAL NUMBERS
Some Properties of R
Theorem (2). If z, a 2 R 3 z + a = a, then z = 0.
(i.e., the number 0 guaranteed by (A3) is unique.)
Proof. By (A4), 9 a 2 R 3 a + (a) = 0.
Then
z
=
A3
z + 0 = z +

a + (a)

=
A2
(z + a) + (a)
= a + (a) = 0.

## Theorem (3). Let a, b 2 R. Then a + x = b has the unique solution

x = (a) + b.
(i.e., we are dining a b.)
Proof.
a +

(a) + b

=
A2

a + (a)

+ b =
A4
0 + b =
A3
b,
so (a) + b is a solution.
For uniqueness, suppose y is any solution of the equation, i.e., a +y = b. Then
y
=
A3
0 + y
=
A4

(a) + a

+ y
=
A2
(a) + (a + y)
= (a) + b

## 2.1. THE ALGEBRAIC AND ORDER PROPERTIES OF R 13

Note.
N Z Q R C
. .
all elds
The last three all satisfy the eld axioms, so the eld axioms do not characterize
R. Recall that Q is closed under + and , i.e., if a, b 2 Q, then a +b 2 Q and
a b 2 Q.
Homework Pages 29-30 #4 (Hint: assume a 6= 0 and prove a = 1), 5 (Hint:
1/(ab) = (1/a) (1/b) if (1/a) (1/b) does what 1/(ab) is supposed to do), 8b
(1st part)
Order Properties of R
R is an ordered eld, i.e., the following properties are satised:
(1) (Trichotomy) For a, b 2 R, exactly one of the following is true: a < b,
a = b, or a > b.
(2) (Transitive) For a, b, c 2 R, if a < b and b < c, then a < c.
(3) For a, b, c 2 R, if a < b, then a + c < b + c.
(4) For a, b, c 2 R, if a < b and c > 0, ac < bc.
Some Order Properties
Theorem (4). If a, b 2 R, then a < b () a > b.
Proof.
a < b ()
a +

(a) + (b)

< b +

(a) + (b)

()

a + (a)

+ (b) < b +

(b) + (a)

()
0 + (b) <

b + (b)

+ (a) ()
b < 0 + (a) () b < a () a > b

## 14 2. THE REAL NUMBERS

Theorem (5). If a, b, c 2 R, then a < b and c < 0 =)ac > bc
Proof. c < 0 =)
TH4
c > 0.
Then a(c) < b(c) =)ac < bc =)
TH4
ac > bc.
Theorem (2.1.9). If a 2 R 3 0 a < 8 > 0, then a = 0.
Proof. Suppose a > 0.
Since 0 <
1
2
< 1, 0 <
1
2
a < a.
Let
0
=
1
2
a.
Then 0 <
0
< a, contradicting our hypothesis. Thus a = 0.
Problem (Page 30 #18). Let a, b 2 R, and suppose a b +
(or a b) 8 > 0. Then a b.
Proof. By way of contradiction, suppose b < a.
[Need to nd an that gives a contradiction.]
Let
0
=
1
2
(a b). Then
a
0
= a
1
2
(a b) =
1
2
a +
1
2
b >
1
2
b +
1
2
b = b,
contradicting our hypothesis. Thus a b.
2.1. THE ALGEBRAIC AND ORDER PROPERTIES OF R 15
Theorem (Arithmetic-Geometric Mean Inequality).
Suppose a, b > 0. Then
p
ab
1
2
(a + b)
with equality holding () a = b.
Proof.
(1) Suppose a 6= b. Then
p
a > 0,
p
b > 0, and
p
a 6=
p
b.
Thus
p
a
p
b 6= 0 =)
_p
a
p
b
_
2
> 0 =)
a 2
p
a
p
b + b > 0 =)
2
p
a
p
b > (a + b) =)
p
ab <
1
2
(a + b)
(2) If a = b,
p
ab =
p
a
2
= |a| = a =
1
2
(2a) =
1
2
(a + a) =
1
2
(a + b).
(3) If
p
ab =
1
2
(a + b),
ab =
1
4
_
a + b
_
2
=)
4ab = a
2
+ 2ab + b
2
=)
0 = a
2
2ab + b
2
=)
0 = (a b)
2
=)
0 = a b =)
a = b.

## 16 2. THE REAL NUMBERS

Theorem (Bernoullis Inequality). If x > 1, then
(1 + x)
n
1 + nx 8n 2 N.
Proof.
[We use MI to prove this.]
Let S N for which (1 + x)
n
1 + nx.
1 2 S since (1 + x)
1
= 1 + 1 x.
Suppose k 2 S, i.e., (1 + x)
k
1 + kx. Then
(1 + x)
k+1
= (1 + x)
k
(1 + x)
(1 + kx)(1 + x)
= 1 + (k + 1)x + kx
2
1 + (k + 1)x
Thus S = N by MI.
Note. We now have
N Z Q R
. .
ordered elds
C.
2.1. THE ALGEBRAIC AND ORDER PROPERTIES OF R 17
Problem (Page 30 #1d). Find all x 2 R 3
1
x
< x
2
.
Solution.
1
x
< x
2
()
x
2

1
x
> 0 ()
1
x
(x
3
1) > 0 ()
_
1
x
> 0 and x
3
1 > 0
_
or
_
1
x
< 0 and x
3
1 < 0
_
()
_
x > 0 and x
3
> 1
_
or
_
x < 0 and x
3
< 1
_
()
_
x > 0 and x > 1
_
or
_
x < 0 and x < 1
_
()
x > 1 or x < 0.

## Homework Page 30 # 13 (Hint: for =), suppose, WLOG, a 6= 0, then reach

18 2. THE REAL NUMBERS
2.2. Absolute Value and the Real Line
Definition.
8a 2 R, |a| =
_
a if a 0
a if a < 0
Theorem (2.2.2).
(a) |ab| = |a||b| 8a, b 2 R.
(b) |a|
2
= a
2
8a 2 R.
(c) If c 0, then |a| c () c a c.
(c) If c > 0, then |a| < c () c < a < c.
(d) |a| a |a| 8a 2 R.
Theorem (2.2.3 Triangle Inequality).
8a, b 2 R, |a + b| |a| + |b|.
Proof.
[We wish to use Theorem 2.2.2(c)]
By Theorem 2.2.2(d),
|a| a |a| and |b| b |b|.
Then

_
|a| + |b|
_
= |a| |b| a + b |a| + |b| =)
|a + b| |a| + |b|
by Theorem 2.2.2(c)
2.2. ABSOLUTE VALUE AND THE REAL LINE 19
Corollary (2.2.4). If a, b 2 R, then
(a)

|a| |b|

|a b|
(b) |a b| |a| + |b|
Note. These are also referred to as triangle inequalities.
Proof. [We use a smuggling technique.]
(a)
|a| = |a b + b| |a b| + |b| =)
|a| |b| |a b|.
|b| = |b a + a| |b a| + |a| =)
|b| |a| |b a| =)
|a b| |a| |b|.
Thus
|a b| |a| |b| |a b| =)

|a| |b|

|a b|
by Theorem 2.2.2.(c)
(b) Just replace b by (b) in the triangle inequality.
Corollary (2.2.5). 8a
1
, a
2
, . . . , a
n
2 R,
|a
1
+ a
2
+ + a
n
| |a
1
| + |a
2
| + + |a
n
|.
20 2. THE REAL NUMBERS
Problem (Page 34 #8a). Find all x 2 R 3 |x 1| > |x + 1|.
Solution.
First, considering the values of x that make one of the absolute values 0,
x < 1 or 1 x < 1 or x 1.
If x < 1,
|x 1| > |x + 1| =)x + 1 > x 1 =)1 > 1,
so x is a solution.
If 1 x < 1,
|x 1| > |x + 1| =)x + 1 > x + 1 =)0 > 2x =)x < 0,
so 1 x < 0 are solutions.
If x > 1,
|x 1| > |x + 1| =)x 1 > x + 1 =)1 > 1,
which is impossible.
Therefore, {x : x < 0} is the solution set.
Recall. |a b| give the distance from a to b on the number line.
Definition (2.2.7). Let a 2 R and > 0. Then the -neighborhood of a
is the set
V

(a) = {x 2 R : |x a| < }.
Corollary.
x 2 V

## (a) () < x a < e () a < x < a + .

2.2. ABSOLUTE VALUE AND THE REAL LINE 21
Problem (Page 34 # 15). If a, b 2 R and a 6= b, then 9 -neighborhoods
U of a and V of b 3 U \ V = ;.
Proof.
WLOG (without loss of generality), suppose a < b. Now
a < a +
1
3
(b a) < a +
2
3
(b a) = b
1
3
(b a) < b.
Choose
U = V1
3
(ba)
(a) and V = V1
3
(ba)
(b)
Then
U \ V = ;.

## Homework Page 34 # 10, 11

22 2. THE REAL NUMBERS
2.3. The Completeness Property of R
GOAL to characterize the real numbers
Definition (2.3.1). Let ; 6= S R.
(a) S is bounded above if 9 u 2 R 3 s u 8s 2 S.
Then u is an upper bound (u.b.) of S.
(b) S is bounded below if 9 w 2 R 3 w s 8s 2 S.
Then w is a lower bound (l.b.) of S.
(c) S is bounded if it is both bounded above and below.
Otherwise it is unbounded.
Corollary.
(a) 2 R is not an u.b. of S if
9 s
0
2 S 3 v < s
0
.
(b) z 2 R is not an l.b. of S if
9 s
00
2 S 3 s
00
< z.
Example.
(1) S = {x 2 R : x 5}.
S is not bounded above since, if v were an upper bound,
max{5, v + 1} > v and max{5, v + 1} 2 S,
S is bounded below by any w 5.
2.3. THE COMPLETENESS PROPERTY OF R 23
(2) (from Page 38 #4) S
4
=
_
1
(1)
n
n
: n 2 N
_
. Find a lower bound and
upper bound for S
4
.
Solution. 0 <
1
n
1 and 1
1
n
< 0 8n 2 N =)
1
(1)
n
n
1 8n 2 N =)
1
(1)
n
n
1 8n 2 N =)
0 1
(1)
n
n
2 8n 2 N.
Thus 0 is a lower bound and 2 is an upper bound of S
4
.
Definition (2.3.2). Let ; 6= S R.
(a) If S is bounded above, then u is a supremum (or least upper bound) of S,
written u = sup S, if
(1) u is an upper bound of S;
(2) if v is any upper bound of S, u v.
(b) If S is bounded below, then w is an inmum (or greatest lower bound) of
S, written w = inf S, if
(1) w is a lower bound of S;
(2) if t is any lower bound of S, t w.
24 2. THE REAL NUMBERS
Lemma (2.3.3). Suppose ; 6= S R.
(a) u = sup S ()
(1) s u 8s 2 S,
(2) if v < u, Then 9 s
0
2 S 3 v < s
0
.
(b) w = inf S ()
(1) w s 8s 2 S,
(2) if w < z, then 9 s
00
2 S 3 s
00
< z.
Lemma (2.3.4).
(Property S) Let ; 6= S R. u = sup S ()
(1) u is an u.b. for S;
(2) 8 > 0, 9 s

2 S 3 u < s

.
(Property I) Let ; 6= S R. w = inf S ()
(1) w is a l.b. for S;
(2) 8 > 0, 9 s

2 S 3 w + > s

.
Proof. (of Property S)
(=)) Assume u = sup S. Then, by denition, u is an u.b. for S.
Let > 0 be given. Then u < u, so by Lemma 2.3.3
9 s
0
2 S 3 u < s
0
. Let s

= s
0
.
((=) (1) u is an u.b. for S =)s u 8s 2 S.
(2) Suppose v < u.
Let = u v. Then
9 s

2 S 3 u (u v) < s

=)v < s

. Let s
0
= s

=)v < s
0
.
Then u = sup S by Lemma 2.3.3.
2.3. THE COMPLETENESS PROPERTY OF R 25
Example.
(1) If ; 6= S R is a nite set,
sup S is the largest element of S and
inf S is the least element of S.
(2) S =
_
x 2 R : 2 < x 5
_
.
(a) sup S = 5 2 S.
Proof.
(1) 8x 2 S, x 5 =)5 is an u.b. of S.
(2) Let > 0 be given. 5 < 5 2 S. Let s

= 5.
Then 5 = sup S by Property S.
(b) inf S = 2 / 2 S.
Proof.
(1) 8 x 2 S, 2 < x =)2 x =)2 is a l.b. of S.
(2) Let > 0 be given.
If > 3, 2 + > 2 + 3 = 5 2 S, so let s

= 5.
If 3,
2 < 2 +

2
2 +
3
2
=
7
2
5, so 2 +

2
2 S.
Then 2 + > 2 +

2
2 S, so let s

= 2 +

2
.
Thus 2 = inf S by Property I.
Axiom (Completeness Property of R or Supremum Property of R).
Every non-empty set of real numbers that has an upper bound also has a
supremum in R.
Note. Thus R is a complete ordered eld, while Q is not.
26 2. THE REAL NUMBERS
Theorem (Inmum Property of R).
Every nonempty set of real numbers that is bounded below has an inmum
in R.
Proof. Suppose ; 6= S R is bounded below. Then
; 6= S
0
=
_
s : s 2 S
_
is bounded above. This is true since
w a lower bound of S =)w s 8s 2 S =)
s w 8s 2 S =)w is an upper bound of S
0
.
By the Completeness Property, u = sup S
0
exists. We claim u = inf S.
(1) u = sup S
0
=)s u 8s 2 S =)u s 8s 2 S =)
u is a lower bound of S.
(2) Let > 0 be given. By Property S, 9 (s

) 2 S
0
, where s

2 S,
3 u < s

=)u + > s

.
Thus u = inf S = sup
_
s : s 2 S
_
.
2.3. THE COMPLETENESS PROPERTY OF R 27
Problem (Page 38 #4). Let S
4
=

1
(1)
n
n
: n 2 N
_
.
Find inf S
4
and sup S
4
.
Solution.
We showed earlier that 0 is a lower bound of S
4
and 2 is an upper bound since
0 1
(1)
n
n
2 8n 2 N.
Now S4 =

2,
1
2
,
4
3
,
3
4
,
6
5
,
5
6
,
8
7
,
7
8
, . . .
_
.
We claim inf S
4
=
1
2
.
(1) If n is odd,
1
(1)
n
n
= 1
1
n
= 1 +
1
n
=
n + 1
n
> 1 >
1
2
.
If n is even,
1
2
n 1, so
1
(1)
n
n
= 1
1
n
=
n 1
n

n
1
2
n
n
=
1
2
n
n
=
1
2
.
Thus
1
2
is a lower bound for S
4
.
(2) Given > 0,
1
2
2 S
4
and
1
2
+ >
1
2
, so choose s

=
1
2
.
By Property I,
1
2
= inf S
4
.
[Finding and proving sup S
4
is Homework]

Homework
Page 38 #2, 4 (prove sup S
4
=?), 7.
28 2. THE REAL NUMBERS
2.4. Applications of the Supremum Property
Two questions
Is there a largest natural number?
Is N bounded above in R?
Theorem (2.4.3 Archimedean Property). If x 2 R, then 9 n
x
2 N 3
x < n
x
.
Proof. Suppose n x 8n 2 N. [We are using contraction.]
Then x is an u.b. of N, so
N has a supremum. Let u = sup N.
By Property S, 9m 2 N 3 u 1 < m.
Then u < m+ 1 2 N,
contradicting that u is an upper bound of N.
Thus 9 n
x
2 N 3 x < n
x
.
Note. The next 3 corollaries can also be referred to as Archimedean.
Corollary (2.4.4). If S =
_
1
n
: n 2 N
_
, inf S = 0.
Proof. Clearly, 0 is a lower bound of S, so inf S exists.
Let w = inf S, so w 0.
8 > 0, 9 n 2 N 3
1

< n (Archimedean) =)
1
n
< . Thus
0 w
1
n
< =)
w = 0 by Theorem 2.1.9. Thus inf S = 0.
2.4. APPLICATIONS OF THE SUPREMUM PROPERTY 29
Corollary (2.4.5). If t > 0, then 9 n
t
2 N 3 0 <
1
n
t
< t.
Proof. Since inf
_
1
n
: n 2 N
_
= 0 and t > 0,
t is not a lower bound of inf
_
1
n
: n 2 N
_
, so
9 n
t
2 N 3 0 <
1
n
t
< t.
Corollary (2.4.6). If y > 0, then 9 n
y
2 N 3 n
y
1 y < n
y
.
Proof. Let E
y
= {m 2 N : y < m}.
By the Archimedean property, E
y
6= ;.
By Well-Ordering, E
y
has a least element, say n
y
.
Then n
y
1 62 E
y
, so
n
y
1 y < n
y
.
30 2. THE REAL NUMBERS
Theorem (Density Theorem). If x, y 2 R 3 x < y, then 9 r 2
Q 3 x < r < y.
Proof. WLOG, assume x > 0.

## Suppose the theorem is true for x > 0.

Then, if x 0, the Archmedean Property says that
9n 2 N 3 x < n, so x + n > 0.
Since x + n < y + n, 9r 2 Q 3 x + n < r < y + n =)
x < r n < y and r n 2 Q.

## Now 0 < x < y =)y x > 0 =)(by Corollary 2.4.5)

9n 2 N 3
1
n
< y x =)nx + 1 < ny.
Applying Corollary 2.4.6 to nx > 0,
9 m 2 N 3 m1 nx < ny.
Then m nx + 1 < ny =)
nx < n < ny =)
x <
m
n
< y. Let r =
m
n
.
Corollary (2.4.9). If x, y 2 R with x < y, then 9 an irrational z 2
R 3 x < z < y.
Proof. x < y =)
x
p
2
<
y
p
2
.
By density, 9 r 2 Q 3
x
p
2
< r <
y
p
2
and r 6= 0 (why?).
Then x
p
2r < y. Note that
p
2r is irrational as the product of a rational
with an irrational. Let z =
p
2r.
2.5. INTERVALS 31
Homework
Page 43 #1 (Use Property S. You are likely to need the Archimedean Property
in Part (2)), 2 (Just nd and prove sup S - same hint as for #1).
Page 44 #18 (Look at proof of Corollary 2.4.9 as a model).
2.5. Intervals
Theorem (2.5.1 Characterisation of Intervals). If S is a subset of R
that contains at least two points and has the property
if x, y 2 S and x < y, then [x, y] 2 S.
(a, b) = {x 2 R : a < x < b}
[a, b] = {x 2 R : a x b}
(a, b] = {x 2 R : a < x b}
(a, 1) = {x 2 R : x > a}
(1, b] = {x 2 R : x b}
I = [0, 1] is called the unit interval.
Definition. A sequence of intervals I
n
, n 2 N, is nested if the following
chain of inclusions holds:
I
1
I
2
I
3
I
n
I
n+1

Example.
(1) I
n
=
_
0,
1
n
_
8n 2 N.
1

n=1
I
n
= {0}.
32 2. THE REAL NUMBERS
(2) J
n
=

0,
1
n

8n 2 N.
1

n=1
J
n
= ;.
(3) K
n
= (n, 1) 8n 2 N.
1

n=1
K
n
= ;.
Theorem (2.5.2 Nested Intervals Property). If I
n
= [a
n
, b
n
], n 2 N,
is a nested sequence of closed, bounded intervals, then 9 2 R 3 2
I
n
8 n 2 N.
Proof. By nesting, I
n
I
1
8 n 2 N, so a
n
b
1
8 n 2 N. Thus
; 6= {a
n
: n 2 N} = A
is bounded above.
Let = sup A, so a
n
8 n 2 N.
[To show b
n
8 n 2 N.]
Let n 2 N be given (so b
n
is arbitrary, but xed).
[To show b
n
is a u.b. of A, so then b
n
.]
(1) Suppose n k. Then I
n
I
k
, so a
k
b
k
b
n
.
(2) Suppose n > k. Then I
k
I
n
, so a
k
a
n
b
n
.
Thus, 8 k 2 N, a
k
b
n
=)b
n
is an u.b. of A =) b
n
.
2.5. INTERVALS 33
Theorem (2.5.3). If I
n
= [a
n
, b
n
], n 2 N, is a nested sequence of closed,
bounded intervals 3
inf{b
n
a
n
: n 2 N} = 0,
the 9 a unique 2 R 3 2 I
n
8 n 2 N.
Proof. Let = inf{b
n
: n 2 N}. Using an argument similar to that of the
previous theorem, we hav a
n
8 n 2 N, so = sup{a
n
: n 2 N} .
Thus, x 2 I
n
8 n 2 N () x .
Let > 0 be given. [To show = 0.]
By Property I, since inf{b
n
a
n
: n 2 N} = 0,
9 m 2 N 3 0 + > b
m
a
m
.
Then 0 b
m
a
m
< .
Thus 0 < 8 > 0.
By Theorem 2.1.9, = 0 = ,
so = is the only point belonging to I
n
8!n 2 N.