The product of uncountably many factors is never hereditarily normal

The space Y=\prod_{\alpha<\omega_1} \left\{0,1 \right\}=\left\{0,1 \right\}^{\omega_1} is the product of \omega_1 many copies of the two-element set \left\{0,1 \right\} where \omega_1 is the first uncountable ordinal. It is a compact space by Tychonoff’s theorem. It is a normal space since every compact Hausdorff space is normal. A space is hereditarily normal if every subspace is normal. Is the space Y hereditarily normal? In this post, we give two proofs that it is not hereditarily normal. It then follows that any product space \prod X_\alpha cannot be hereditarily normal as long as there are uncountably many factors and every factor has at least two point.

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The connection with a theorem of Katetov

It turns out that there is a connection with a theorem of Katetov. For any compact space, knowing hereditary normality of the first several self product spaces can reveal a great deal of information about the compact space. More specifically, for any compact space X, knowing whether X, X^2 and X^3 are hereditarily normal can tell us whether X is metrizable. If all three are hereditarily normal, then X is metrizable. If one of the three self products is not hereditarily normal, then X is not metrizable. This fact is based on a theorem of Katetov (see this previous post). The space Y=\left\{0,1 \right\}^{\omega_1} is not metrizable since it is not first countable (see Problem 1 below). Thus one of its first three self products must fail to be hereditarily normal.

These two proofs are not direct proof in the sense that a non-normal subspace is not explicitly produced. Instead the proofs use other theorem or basic but important background results. One of the two proofs (#2) uses a theorem of Katetov on hereditarily normal spaces. The other proof (#1) uses the fact that the product of uncountably many copies of a countable discrete space is not normal. We believe that these two proofs and the required basic facts are an important training ground for topology. We list out these basic facts as exercises. Anyone who wishes to fill in the gaps can do so either by studying the links provided or by consulting other sources.

The theorem of Katetov mentioned earlier provides a great exercise – for any non-metrizable compact space X, determine where the hereditary normality fails. Does it fail in X, X^2 or X^3? This previous post examines a small list of compact non-metrizable spaces. In all the examples in this list, the hereditary normality fails in X or X^2. The space Y=\left\{0,1 \right\}^{\omega_1} can be added to this list. All the examples in this list are defined using no additional set theory axioms beyond ZFC. A natural question: does there exist an example of compact non-metrizable space X such that the hereditary normality holds in X^2 and fails in X^3? It turns out that this was a hard problem and the answer is independent of ZFC. This previous post provides a brief discussion and has references for the problem.

All spaces under consideration are Hausdorff spaces.

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Exercises

Problem 1
Let X be a compact space. Show that X is normal.

Problem 2
For each \alpha<\omega_1, let A_\alpha be a set with cardinality \le \omega_1. Show that \lvert \bigcup_{\alpha<\omega_1} A_\alpha \lvert \le \omega_1.

Problem 2 holds for any infinite cardinal, not just \omega_1. One reference for Problem 2 is Lemma 10.21 on page 30 of Set Theorey, An Introduction to Independence Proofs by Kenneth Kunen.

Problem 3
For each \alpha<\omega_1, let X_\alpha be a space with at least two points. Show that for every point p \in \prod_{\alpha<\omega_1} X_\alpha, there does not exist a countable base at the point p. In other words, the product space \prod_{\alpha<\omega_1} X_\alpha is not first countable at every point. It follows that product space \prod_{\alpha<\omega_1} X_\alpha is not metrizable.

Problem 4
In any space, a G_\delta-set is a set that is the intersection of countably many open sets. When a singleton set \left\{ x \right\} is a G_\delta-set, we say the point x is a G_\delta-point. For each \alpha<\omega_1, let X_\alpha be a space with at least two points. Show that every point p in the product space \prod_{\alpha<\omega_1} X_\alpha is not a G_\delta-point.

Note that Problem 4 implies Problem 3.

For Problem 3 and Problem 4, use the fact that there are uncountably many factors and that a basic open set in the product space is of the form \prod_{\alpha<\omega_1} O_\alpha and that it has only finitely many coordinates at which O_\alpha \ne X_\alpha.

Problem 5
For each \alpha<\omega_1, let X_\alpha=\left\{0,1,2,\cdots \right\} be the set of non-negative integers with the discrete topology. Show that the product space \prod_{\alpha<\omega_1} X_\alpha is not normal.

See here for a discussion of Problem 5.

Problem 6
Let \displaystyle Y=\left\{0,1 \right\}^{\omega_1}. Show that Y has a countably infinite subspace

    W=\left\{y_0,y_1,y_2,y_3\cdots \right\}

such that W is relatively discrete. In other words, W is discrete in the subspace topology of W. However W is not discrete in the product space Y since Y is compact.

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Proof #1

Let \displaystyle Y=\left\{0,1 \right\}^{\omega_1}. We show that Y is not hereditarily normal.

Note that the product space \displaystyle Y=\left\{0,1 \right\}^{\omega_1} can be written as the product of \omega_1 many copies of itself:

    \displaystyle \left\{0,1 \right\}^{\omega_1} \cong \left\{0,1 \right\}^{\omega_1} \times \left\{0,1 \right\}^{\omega_1} \times \left\{0,1 \right\}^{\omega_1} \times \cdots \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ (1)

The fact (1) follows from the fact that the union of \omega_1 many pairwise disjoint sets, each of which has cardinality \omega_1, has cardinality \omega_1 (see Problem 2). The space \left\{0,1 \right\}^{\omega_1} has a countably infinite subspace that is relatively discrete (see Problem 6). In other words, it has a subspace that is homemorphic to \omega=\left\{0,1,2,\cdots \right\} where \omega has the discrete topology. Thus the following is homeomorphic to a subspace of \displaystyle Y=\left\{0,1 \right\}^{\omega_1}.

    \displaystyle \omega^{\omega_1} = \omega \times \omega \times \omega \times \cdots \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \  \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ (2)

By Problem 5, the space \omega^{\omega_1} is not normal. Hence the compact space \displaystyle Y=\left\{0,1 \right\}^{\omega_1} contains the non-normal space \omega^{\omega_1} and is thus not hereditarily normal. \blacksquare

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Proof #2

Let \displaystyle Y=\left\{0,1 \right\}^{\omega_1}. We show that Y is not hereditarily normal. This proof uses a theorem of Katetov, discussed in this previous post and stated below.

Theorem 1
If X_1 \times X_2 is hereditarily normal (i.e. every one of its subspaces is normal), then one of the following condition holds:

  • The factor X_1 is perfectly normal.
  • Every countable and infinite subset of the factor X_2 is closed.

First, Y can be written as the product of two copies of itself:

    \displaystyle \left\{0,1 \right\}^{\omega_1} \cong \left\{0,1 \right\}^{\omega_1} \times \left\{0,1 \right\}^{\omega_1} \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ \ (3)

This is because the union of two disjoints sets, each of which has cardinality \omega_1, has carinality \omega_1. Note that the countably infinite subset W from Problem 6 is not a closed subset of Y. If it were, the compact space Y would contain an infinite set with no limit point. Thus the second condition of Theorem 1 is not satisfied. If Y \cong Y \times Y were to be hereditarily normal, then the first condition must be satisfied, i.e. Y is perfectly normal (meaning that Y is normal and that every closed subset of it is a G_\delta-set). However, Problem 4 indicates that no point in Y can be a G_\delta point. Therefore Y cannot be hereditarily normal. \blacksquare

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Corollary

The product of uncountably many spaces, each one of which has at least two points, contains a homeomorphic copy of the space \displaystyle Y=\left\{0,1 \right\}^{\omega_1}. Thus such a product space can never be hereditarily normal. We state this more formally below.

Theorem 2
Let \kappa be any uncountable cardinal. For each \alpha<\kappa, let X_\alpha be a space with at least two points. Then \prod_{\alpha<\kappa} X_\alpha is not hereditarily normal.

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\copyright \ 2015 \text{ by Dan Ma}

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