A subspace of Bing’s example G

Bing’s Example G is the first example of a topological space that is normal but not collectionwise normal (see [1]). Example G was an influential example from an influential paper. The Example G and its subspaces had been extensively studied. In addition to being normal and not collectionwise normal, Example G is not perfectly normal and not metacompact. See the previous post “Bing’s Example G” for a basic discussion of Example G. In this post we focus on one subspace of Example G examined by Michael in [3]. This subspace is normal, not collectionwise normal and not perfectly normal just like Example G. However it is metacompact. In [3], Michael proved that any metacompact collectionwise normal space is paracompact (metacompact was called pointwise paracompact in that paper). This subspace of Example G demonstrates that collectionwise normality in Michael’s theorem cannot be replaced by normality.


Bing’s Example G

For a more detailed discussion of Bing’s Example G in this blog, see the blog post “Bing’s Example G”. For the sake of completeness, we repeat the definition of Example G. Let P be any uncountable set. Let Q be the set of all subsets of P. Let F=2^Q be the set of all functions f: Q \rightarrow 2=\left\{0,1 \right\}. Obviously 2^Q is simply the Cartesian product of \lvert Q \lvert many copies of the two-point discrete space \left\{0,1 \right\}, i.e., \prod \limits_{q \in Q} \left\{0,1 \right\}. For each p \in P, define the function f_p: Q \rightarrow 2 by the following:

    \forall q \in Q, f_p(q)=1 if p \in q and f_p(q)=0 if p \notin q

Let F_P=\left\{f_p: p \in P \right\}. Let \tau be the set of all open subsets of 2^Q in the product topology. The following is another topology on 2^Q:

    \tau^*=\left\{U \cup V: U \in \tau \text{ and } V \subset 2^Q \text{ with } V \cap F_P=\varnothing \right\}

Bing’s Example G is the set F=2^Q with the topology \tau^*. In other words, each x \in F-F_P is made an isolated point and points in F_P retain the usual product open sets.


Michael’s Subspace of Example G

For each f \in F, let supp(f) be the support of f, i.e., supp(f)=\left\{q \in Q:f(q) \ne 0 \right\}. Michael in [3] considered the following subspace of F.

    M=F_P \cup \left\{f \in F: supp(f) \text{ is finite} \right\}

Michael in [3] used the letter G to denote the space M. We choose another letter to distinguish it from Example G. The subspace M consists of all points f_p \in F_P and all other f \in F such that f(q)=1 for only finitely many q \in Q. The space M is normal and not collectionwise Hausdorff (hence not collectionwise normal and not paracompact). By eliminating points f \in F that have values of 1 for infinitely many q \in Q, we obtain a subspace that is metacompact. We discuss the following points:

  • The space M is normal.
  • The space M is not collectionwise Hausdorff and hence not collectionwise normal.
  • The space M is metacompact.
  • The space M is not perfectly normal.

The space M is normal since the space F that is Example G is hereditarily normal (see the section called Bing’s Example G is Completely Normal in the post “Bing’s Example G”).

To show that the space M is not collectionwise Hausdorff, it is helpful to first look at M as a subspace of the product space 2^Q. The product space 2^Q has the countable chain condition (CCC) since it is a product of separable spaces. Note that M is dense in the product space 2^Q. Thus M as a subspace of the product space has the CCC.

In the space M, the set F_P is still a closed and discrete set. In the space M, open sets containing points of F_P are the same as product open sets in 2^Q relative to the set M. Since M has CCC (as a subspace of the product space 2^Q), M cannot have uncountably many pairwise disjoint open sets containing points of F_P (in either the product topology or the Example G subspace topology). It follows that M is not collectionwise Hausdorff. If it were, there would be uncountably many pairwise disjoint product open sets separating points in F_P, which is not possible.

To see that M is metacompact, let \mathcal{U} be an open cover of M. For each p \in P, choose U_p \in \mathcal{U} such that f_p \in U_p. For each p \in P, let W_p=\left\{f \in M: f(\left\{p \right\})=1 \right\}. Let \mathcal{V} be the following:

    \mathcal{V}=\left\{U_p \cap W_p: p \in P \right\} \cup \left\{\left\{x \right\}: x \in M-F_P \right\}

Note that \mathcal{V} is a point-finite open refinement of \mathcal{U}. Each U_p \cap W_p contains only one point of F_P, namely f_p. On the other hand, each f \in M with finite support can belong to at most finitely many U_p \cap W_p.

The space M is not perfectly normal. This point is alluded to in [3] by Michael and elsewhere in the literature, e.g. in Bing’s paper (see [1]) and in Engelking’s general topology text (see 5.53 on page 338 of [2]). In fact Michael indicated that one can obtain a perfectly normal example with the aforementioned properties using Example H defined in [1] instead of using the subspace M defined here in this post.



  1. Bing, R. H., Metrization of Topological Spaces, Canad. J. Math., 3, 175-186, 1951.
  2. Engelking, R., General Topology, Revised and Completed edition, Heldermann Verlag, Berlin, 1989.
  3. Michael, E., Point-finite and locally finite coverings, Canad. J. Math., 7, 275-279, 1955.
  4. Willard, S., General Topology, Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, 1970.


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