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# Solutions to Week 1 Homework problems from Abbott

## Problems (section 1.2) 1.2.1, 1.2.4, 1.2.7, 1.2.8, 1.2.11

1.2.1 √
√ (a) Prove that 3 is irrational. Does a similar argument work to show
6 is irrational?
(b) Where √ does the proof of Theorem 1.1.1 break down if we try to use
it to prove 4 is irrational?
√ √
(a) Proof: Suppose 3 is rational. Then 3 = pq where p and q are
2
positive integers with no common factor. It follows that 3 = pq2 and hence
3q 2 = p2 . Since 3 divides p2 , 3 must divide p itself, and hence in fact 9
divides p2 . But in that case, 9 must divided the LHS (left hand side) of the
equation 3q 2 = p2 also, which means that 3 divides q 2 . This tells us that 3
divides q, and we have arrived at a contradiciton: 3 divides both q and√p,
even though we assumed that q and p have no common factors. Thus, 3
must be irrational. √
Essentially the same argument will work √ for 6.
(b) If we start the same procedure with 4, we ﬁnd that the argument
breaks down at the point where we concluded (above) that if 3 divides p2
then 3 must divide p. Clearly, if 4 divides p2 we cannot conclude that 4
divides p (consider the case of p = 2, for example).

1.2.4 Verify the triangle inequality in the special cases where (a) a and b
have the same sign; (b) a ≥ 0, b < 0, and a + b ≥ 0.
(a) If a and b are both positive then |a + b| = |a| + |b|. If a and b are both
negative then |a + b| = −a − b = |a| + |b|.
(b) If a ≥ 0, b < 0 and a + b ≥ 0 then |a + b| = a + b = |a| − |b| ≤ |a| + |b|.

## 1.2.7 Given a function f :D → R and a subset B ⊆ R, let f −1 (B) be the set

of all points from the domain D that get mapped into B; that is, f −1 (B) =
{x ∈ D : f (x) ∈ B}. This set is called the preimage of B.
(a) Let f (x) = x2 . If A is the closed interval [0, 
4] and B is the 
closed in-
−1 −1 −1 −1 −1
terval [−1, 1], ﬁnd f (A)  and f (B). Does  f−1 (A B) = f (A) f (B)
−1 −1
in this case? Does f (A B) = f (A) f (B)?
(b) The good behavior of preimages demonstrated in (a) is completely
general. Show that for an arbitrary function g: R → R, it isalways true
that g (A B) = g (A) g −1 (B) and g −1 (A B) = g −1 (A) g −1 (B) for
−1 −1

all sets A, B ⊆ R.

1
(a) By deﬁnion of preimage, f −1 ([0, 4]) = {x ∈ R|x2 ∈ [0, 4]}. This is the
set of reals whose square is in [0, 4], which is [−2, 2]. Similarly,
 f −1 ([−1, 1]) =
{x ∈ R|x2 ∈ [−1, 1]} = [−1,  1]. In this case, f  −1
(A B) = f −1 ([0, 1]) =
−1
[−1, 1] which is indeed [−2, 2] [−1, 1] = f  (A) f −1 (B).
For the case of unions
 −1 we have: f −1 (A B) = f −1 ([−1, 4]) = [−2, 2]
−1
which is indeed f (A) f (B).
 g. By deﬁnition of preimage, we have:
(b)Now for the arbitrary function
g −1(A B) = {x ∈ R|g(x) ∈ A B}. This set can be described as {x ∈
R|g(x) ∈ A and g(x) ∈ B}. But, if g(x) ∈ A and g(x)  ∈ B then x ∈ g −1 (A)
and x ∈ g −1 (B), which implies that x ∈ g −1(A) g −1 (B). Furthermore,
the reverse reasoning also holds.
 That is, if x∈ g −1 (A) and x ∈ g −1 (B)
it mustbe that g(x) ∈ A B so x ∈ g −1 (A B). Thus, g −1(A B) =
g −1(A) g −1(B).  
By similar reasoning, if x is in g −1(A B) then g(x) ∈ A B and hence
g(x) is in A or B. Butthat means that x ∈ g −1(A) or x ∈ g −1 (B), which
is to say: x∈ g −1 (A) g −1(B). Again, the reverse reasoning holdstoo: If
x ∈ g −1 (A) g −1(B) then either g(x)∈ A or g(x) ∈  B, so g(x) ∈ A B and
hence x ∈ g (A B). Thus, g (A B) = g (A) g −1(B).
−1 −1 −1

## 1.2.8 The negations of each of the given statements are:

(a) For some real numbers a and b satisfying a < b, we have: a + 1/n ≥ b
for every n ∈ N.
(b) There are two distinct real numbers
√ with no rational between them.
(c) For some natural number n ∈ N, n is neither a natural number nor
an irrational number.
(d) There is a real number x ∈ R such that for all n ∈ N we have n ≤ x.

## 1.2.11 If a set A contains n elements, prove that the number of diﬀerent

subsets of A is equal to 2n .
Proof: Let A = {a1 , a2 , ...an }. For any subset of A, each ai will either
be in the subset or not. Thus, to create a subset of A we have two choices
for each ai : ai can be in the subset or not in the subset. Each diﬀerent
combination of decisions of this sort will yield a diﬀerent subset of A. Thus,
the number of diﬀerent ways to form a subset of A is 2 × 2 × 2... × 2 where
there are n factors of 2. It follows that there are 2n subsets of A.2