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iii BS MATH CIT Pangasinan State University Lingayen Campus


The real number system

In this Chapter: 2.1 Axioms for the Real Numbers 2.2 The Natural and Rational numbers as subsets of R 2.3 The extended real numbers 2.4 Sequences of real numbers 2.5 Open and closed sets of real numbers 2.6 Continuous functions 2.7 Borel Sets


The real numbers is defined as a Dedekind cut of rational numbers, the rational numbers in turn being defined in terms of the natural numbers. This gives an elegant construction of the real numbers out of more primitive concepts of set theory. The properties of real numbers are consequences of axioms, and in fact these axioms completely characterize the real numbers. We thus assume as given the R of real numbers, the set P of positive real numbers, and the functions + and on R x R to R and assume that these satisfy the following axioms. A. The Field Axioms: For all real numbers x, y, and z we have: A1. x + y = y + x. A2. (x + y) + z = x + (y +z). A3. such that x + 0 = x for all x R. A4. For each x R there is a w R such that x + w = 0. A5. xy = yx. A6. (xy)z = x(yz). A7. 1 R such that 1 0 and x 1 = x for all x R. A8. x(y + z) = xy + xz. Any set that satisfies these axioms is called a field (under + and ). If we have a field, that is, any system satisfying A1 through A9, we can perform all the operations on elementary algebra, including the solution of simultaneous linear equations. The second class of properties possessed by the real numbers have to do with the fact that the real numbers are ordered: B. Axioms of Order: the subset P of positive real numbers satisfies the following: B1. (x, y P ) x + y P. B2. (x, y P ) xy P. B3. (x P ) x P. B4. (x R ) (x = 0) or (x P ) or ( x P ). Any system satisfying the axioms of group A and B is called an ordered field. Thus the real numbers are an ordered field. The rational numbers give another example of an ordered field.

The third axiom group consists of a single axiom, and is this axiom that distinguishes the real numbers from other ordered fields. Before stating this final axiom, let us introduce some terminology: if S is a set of real numbers, we say that b is an upper bound for S if for each x S we have x b. A number c is called a least upper bound for S if it is an upper bound for S and if c b for each upper bound b of S. Clearly, the least upper bound of a set S is unique if it exists. Our final axiom for real numbers simply guarantees its existence for such with an upper bound. C. Completeness Axiom: Every nonempty set S of real numbers which has an upper bound has a least upper bound. As a consequence of Axiom C we have the following proposition: 1. Proposition: Let L and U be nonempty subsets of R with R = L U and such that for each l in L and e ach u in U we have l u. Then either L has a greatest element or U has the least element. We shall often denote the least upper bound of S by sup S and occasionally by sup {x: x S}. We can define lower bounds and greatest lower bounds in a similar fashion, and it follows from Axiom C that every set of real numbers with a lower bound has a greatest lower bound. We denote the greatest lower bound of a set S by inf S. Note that inf S = sup S.

1. Show that 1 .

Solutions: Suppose 1 P. Then 1 P by Axiom B4. Now take x P. Then ( 1)x P by Axiom B2 so 0 = x + ( x) P. Contradiction.


2. Use Axiom C to show that every nonempty set of real numbers with a lower bound has the greatest lower bound. Solutions: Let S be a nonempty set of real numbers with a lower bound. Then the set S = { s : s S} has an upper bound and by Axiom C, it has a least upper bound b. b is a lower bound for S and if a is another lower bound for S, then a is an upper bound for S and b a so b a. Thus b is a greatest lower bound for S. 3. Prove Proposition 1 using Axiom C. Solutions: Let L and U be nonempty subsets of R with R = L U and such that for each l L and u U we have l < u. L is bounded above so it has a least upper bound l0. Similarly, U is bounded below so it has a greatest lower bound u0. If l0 L, then it is the greatest element in L. Otherwise, l0 U and u0 l0. If u0 < l0, then there exists l L with u0 < l. Thus l is a lower bound for U and is greater than u0. Contradiction. Hence u0 = l0 so u0 U and it is the least element in U. 4. If x and y are two real numbers, we define max (x, y) to be x if x y and y if y x. we often denote max (x, y) by x y. Similarly, we define min (x, y) to be the smaller of x and y, and denote it by x y. Show that a. (x y) z = x (y b. x y + x y = x + y c. ( x) ( y) = (x y) d. x y + z = (x + z) (y + z) e. z(x y) = (zx) (zy) if z 0. Solutions: