Counterexample 106 from Steen and Seebach

As the title suggests, this post discusses counterexample 106 in Steen and Seebach [2]. We extend the discussion by adding two facts not found in [2].

The counterexample 106 is the space X=\omega_1 \times I^I, which is the product of \omega_1 with the interval topology and the product space I^I=\prod_{t \in I} I where I is of course the unit interval [0,1]. The notation of \omega_1, the first uncountable ordinal, in Steen and Seebach is [0,\Omega).

Another way to notate the example X is the product space \prod_{t \in I} X_t where X_0 is \omega_1 and X_t is the unit interval I for all t>0. Thus in this product space, all factors except for one factor is the unit interval and the lone non-compact factor is the first uncountable ordinal. The factor of \omega_1 makes this product space an interesting example.

The following lists out the basic topological properties of the space that X=\omega_1 \times I^I are covered in [2].

  • The space X is Hausdorff and completely regular.
  • The space X is countably compact.
  • The space X is neither compact nor sequentially compact.
  • The space X is neither separable, Lindelof nor \sigma-compact.
  • The space X is not first countable.
  • The space X is locally compact.

All the above bullet points are discussed in Steen and Seebach. In this post we add the following two facts.

  • The space X is not normal.
  • The space X is a dense subspace that is normal.

It follows from these bullet points that the space X is an example of a completely regular space that is not normal. Not being a normal space, X is then not metrizable. Of course there are other ways to show that X is not metrizable. One is that neither of the two factors \omega_1 or I^I is metrizable. Another is that X is not first countable.


The space X is not normal

Now we are ready to discuss the non-normality of the example. It is a natural question to ask whether the example X=\omega_1 \times I^I is normal. The fact that it was not discussed in [2] could be that the tool for answering the normality question was not yet available at the time [2] was originally published, though we do not know for sure. It turns out that the tool became available in the paper [1] published a few years after the publication of [2]. The key to showing the normality (or the lack of) in the example X=\omega_1 \times I^I is to show whether the second factor I^I is a countably tight space.

The main result in [1] is discussed in this previous post. Theorem 1 in the previous post states that for any compact space Y, the product \omega_1 \times Y is normal if and only if Y is countably tight. Thus the normality of the space X (or the lack of) hinges on whether the compact factor I^I=\prod_{t \in I} I is countably tight.

A space Y is countably tight (or has countable tightness) if for each S \subset Y and for each x \in \overline{S}, there exists some countable B \subset S such that x \in \overline{B}. The definitions of tightness in general and countable tightness in particular are discussed here.

To show that the product space I^I=\prod_{t \in I} I is not countably tight, we let S be the subspace of I^I consisting of points, each of which is non-zero on at most countably many coordinates. Specifically S is defined as follows:

    S=\Sigma_{t \in I} I=\left\{y \in I^I: y(t) \ne 0 \text{ for at most countably many } t \in I \right\}

The set S just defined is also called the \Sigma-product of copies of unit interval I. Let g \in I^I be defined by g(t)=1 for all t \in I. It follows that g \in \overline{S}. It can also be verified that g \notin \overline{B} for any countable B \subset S. This shows that the product space I^I=\prod_{t \in I} I is not countably tight.

By Theorem 1 found in this link, the space X=\omega_1 \times I^I is not normal.


The space X has a dense subspace that is normal

Now that we know X=\omega_1 \times I^I is not normal, a natural question is whether it has a dense subspace that is normal. Consider the subspace \omega_1 \times S where S is the \Sigma-product S=\Sigma_{t \in I} I defined in the preceding section. The subspace S is dense in the product space I^I. Thus \omega_1 \times S is dense in X=\omega_1 \times I^I. The space S is normal since the \Sigma-product of separable metric spaces is normal. Furthermore, \omega_1 can be embedded as a closed subspace of S=\Sigma_{t \in I} I. Then \omega_1 \times S is homeomorphic to a closed subspace of S \times S. Since S \times S \cong S, the space \omega_1 \times S is normal.



  1. Nogura, T., Tightness of compact Hausdorff space and normality of product spaces, J. Math. Soc. Japan, 28, 360-362, 1976
  2. Steen, L. A., Seebach, J. A., Counterexamples in Topology, Dover Publications, Inc., New York, 1995.

\copyright \ 2015 \text{ by Dan Ma}


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