Equivalent conditions for hereditarily Lindelof spaces

A topological space X is Lindelof if every open cover X has a countable subcollection that also is a cover of X. A topological space X is hereditarily Lindelof if every subspace of X, with respect to the subspace topology, is a Lindelof space. In this post, we prove a theorem that gives two equivalent conditions for the hereditarily Lindelof property. We consider the following theorem.

Theorem 1
Let X be a topological space. The following conditions are equivalent.

  1. The space X is a hereditarily Lindelof space.
  2. Every open subspace of X is Lindelof.
  3. For every uncountable subspace Y of X, there exists a point y \in Y such that every open subset of X containing y contains uncountably many points of Y.

This is an excellent exercise for the hereditarily Lindelof property and for transfinite induction (for one of the directions). The equivalence 1 \longleftrightarrow 3 is the exercise 3.12.7(d) on page 224 of [1]. The equivalence of the 3 conditions of Theorem 1 is mentioned on page 182 (chapter d-8) of [2].

Proof of Theorem 1
The direction 1 \longrightarrow 2 is immediate. The direction 2 \longrightarrow 3 is straightforward.

3 \longrightarrow 1
We show \text{not } 1 \longrightarrow \text{not } 3. Suppose T is a non-Lindelof subspace of X. Let \mathcal{U} be an open cover of T such that no countable subcollection of \mathcal{U} can cover T. By a transfinite inductive process, choose a set of points \left\{t_\alpha \in T: \alpha < \omega_1 \right\} and a collection of open sets \left\{U_\alpha \in \mathcal{U}: \alpha < \omega_1 \right\} such that for each \alpha < \omega_1, t_\alpha \in U_\alpha and t_\alpha \notin \cup \left\{U_\beta: \beta<\alpha \right\}. The inductive process is possible since no countable subcollection of \mathcal{U} can cover T. Now let Y=\left\{t_\alpha: \alpha<\omega_1 \right\}. Note that each U_\alpha can at most contain countably many points of Y, namely the points in \left\{t_\beta: \beta \le \alpha \right\}.

For each \alpha, let V_\alpha be an open subset of X such that U_\alpha=V_\alpha \cap Y. We can now conclude: for every point t_\alpha of Y, there exists an open set V_\alpha containing t_\alpha such that V_\alpha contains only countably many points of Y. This is the negation of condition 3. \blacksquare

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Remarks

Condition 3 indicates that every uncountable set has a certain special type of limit points. Let p \in X. We say p is a limit point of the set Y \subset X if every open set containing p contains a point of Y different from p. Being a limit point of Y, we only know that each open set containing p contain infinitely many points of Y (assuming a T_1 space). Thus the limit points indicated in condition 3 are a special type of limit points. According to the terminology of [1], if p is a limit point of Y satisfying condition 3, then p is said to be a condensation point of Y. According to Theorem 1, existence of condensation point in every uncountable set is a strong topological property (being equivalent to the hereditarily property). It is easy to see that of condition 3 holds, all but countably many points of any uncountable set Y is a condensation point of Y.

In some situations, we may not need the full strength of condition 3. In such situations, the following corollary may be sufficient.

Corollary 2
If the space X is hereditarily Lindelof, then every uncountable subspace Y of X contains one of its limit points.

As noted earlier, if every uncountable set contains one of its limits, then all but countably many points of any uncountable set are limit points. To contrast the hereditarily Lindelof property with the Lindelof property, consider the following theorem.

Theorem 3
If the space X is Lindelof, then every uncountable subspace Y of X has a limit point.

The condition “every uncountable subspace Y of X has a limit point” has another name. When a space satisfies this condition, it is said to have countable extent. The ideas in Corollary 2 and Theorem 3 are also discussed in this previous post.

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Reference

  1. Engelking, R., General Topology, Revised and Completed edition, Heldermann Verlag, Berlin, 1989.
  2. Hart, K. P., Nagata J. I., Vaughan, J. E., editors, Encyclopedia of General Topology, First Edition, Elsevier Science Publishers B. V, Amsterdam, 2003.

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\copyright \ 2014 \text{ by Dan Ma}

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