Sorgenfrey Line is not a Moore Space

We found an incorrect statement about the Sorgenfrey line in an entry in Wikipedia about Moore space (link). This statement opens up a discussion on the question of whether the Sorgenfrey line is a Moore space as well as a discussion on Moore space. The following is the incorrect statement found in Wikipedia by the author.

The Sorgenfrey line is the space whose underlying set is the real line S=\mathbb{R} where the topology is generated by a base consisting the half open intervals of the form [a,b). The Sorgenfrey plane is the square S \times S.

Even though the Sorgenfrey line is normal, the Sorgenfrey plane is not normal. In fact, the Sorgenfrey line is the classic example of a normal space whose square is not normal. Both the Sorgenfrey line and the Sorgenfrey plane are not Moore space but not for the reason given. The statement seems to suggest that any normal Moore space is second countable. But this flies in the face of all the profound mathematics surrounding the normal Moore space conjecture, which is also discussed in the Wikipedia entry.

The statement indicated above is only a lead-in to a discussion of Moore space. We are certain that it will be corrected. We always appreciate readers who kindly alert us to errors found in this blog.


Moore Spaces

Let X be a regular space. A development for X is a sequence \mathcal{G}_1,\mathcal{G}_2,\mathcal{G}_3,\cdots of open covers of X such that for each x \in X, and for each open subset U of X with x \in U, there exists one cover \mathcal{G}_n satisfying the condition that for any open set V \in \mathcal{G}_n, x \in V \Rightarrow V \subset U. When X has a development, X is said to be a Moore space (also called developable space). A Note On The Sorgenfrey Line is an introductory note on the Sorgenfrey line.

Moore spaces can be viewed as a generalization of metrizable spaces. Moore spaces are first countable (having a countable base at each point). For a development \mathcal{G}_1,\mathcal{G}_2,\mathcal{G}_3,\cdots, the open sets in \mathcal{G}_n are considered “smaller” as the index n increases. In fact, this is how a development is defined for a metric space, where \mathcal{G}_n consists of all open balls with diameters less than \frac{1}{n}. Thus metric spaces are developable. There are plenty of non-metrizable Moore space. One example is the Niemytzki’s Tangent Disc space.

In a Moore space, every closed set is a G_\delta-set. Thus if a Moore space is normal, it is perfectly normal. Any Moore space has a G_\delta-diagonal (the diagonal \Delta=\left\{(x,x): x \in X \right\} is a G_\delta-set in X \times X). It is a well known theorem that every compact space with a G_\delta-diagonal is metrizable. Thus any compact Moore space is metrizable.

The last statement can be shown more directly. Suppose that X is compact and has a development \mathcal{G}_1,\mathcal{G}_2,\mathcal{G}_3,\cdots. Then each \mathcal{G}_n has a finite subcover \mathcal{H}_n. Then \bigcup_{n=1}^\infty \mathcal{H}_n is a countable base for X. Thus any compact Moore space is second countable and hence metrizable.

What about paracompact Moore space? Suppose that X is paracompact and has a development \mathcal{G}_1,\mathcal{G}_2,\mathcal{G}_3,\cdots. Then each \mathcal{G}_n has a locally finite open refinement \mathcal{H}_n. Then \bigcup_{n=1}^\infty \mathcal{H}_n is a \sigma-locally finite base for X. The Smirnov-Nagata metrization theorem states that a space is metrizable if and only if it has a \sigma-locally finite base (see Theorem 23.9 on page 170 of [2]). Thus any paracompact Moore space has a \sigma-locally finite base and is thus metrizable (after using the big gun of the Smirnov-Nagata metrization theorem).


Sorgenfrey Line

The Sorgenfrey line is regular and Lindelof. Hence it is paracompact. Since the Sorgenfrey line is not metrizable, by the above discussion it cannot be a Moore space. The Sorgenfrey plane is also not a Moore space. Note that being a Moore space is a hereditary property. So if the Sorgenfrey plane is a Moore space, then every subspace of the Sorgenfrey plane (including the Sorgenfrey line) is a Moore space.

The following theorem is another way to show that the Sorgenfrey line is not a Moore space.

    Bing’s Metrization Theorem
    A topological space is metrizable if and only if it is a collectionwise normal Moore space.

Every paracompact space is collectionwise normal (see Theorem 5.1.18, p.305 of [1]). Thus the Sorgenfrey line is collectionwise normal and hence cannot be a Moore space. A space X is said to be collectionwise normal if X is a T_1-space and for every discrete collection \left\{W_\alpha: \alpha \in A \right\} of closed sets in X, there exists a discrete collection \left\{V_\alpha: \alpha \in A \right\} of open subsets of X such that W_\alpha \subset V_\alpha. For a proof of Bing’s metrization theorem, see page 329 of [1].



The normal Moore space conjecture is the statement that every normal Moore space is metrizable. This conjecture had been one of the key motivating questions for many set theorists and topologists during a large part of the twentieth century. The bottom line is that this statement cannot not be decided just on the basis of the set of generally accepted axioms called Zermelo–Fraenkel set theory with the axiom of choice, commonly abbreviated ZFC. But Bing’s metrization theorem states that if we strengthen normality to collectionwise normality, we have a definite answer.



  1. Engelking, R., General Topology, Revised and Completed edition, Heldermann Verlag, Berlin, 1989.
  2. Willard, S., General Topology, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1970.


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