kappa-Dowker space and the first conjecture of Morita

Recall the product space of the Michael line and the space of the irrational numbers. Even though the first factor is a normal space (in fact a paracompact space) and the second factor is a metric space, their product space is not normal. This is one of the classic examples demonstrating that normality is not well behaved with respect to product space. This post presents an even more striking result, i.e., for any non-discrete normal space Y, there exists another normal space X such that X \times Y is not normal. The example of the non-normal product of the Michael line and the irrationals is not some isolated example. Rather it is part of a wide spread phenomenon. This result guarantees that no matter how nice a space Y is, a counter part X can always be found that the product of the two spaces is not normal. This result is known as Morita’s first conjecture and was proved by Atsuji and Rudin. The solution is based on a generalization of Dowker’s theorem and a construction done by Rudin. This post demonstrates how the solution is put together.

All spaces under consideration are Hausdorff.


Morita’s First Conjecture

In 1976, K. Morita posed the following conjecture.

    Morita’s First Conjecture
    If Y is a normal space such that X \times Y is a normal space for every normal space X, then Y is a discrete space.

The proof given in this post is for proving the contrapositive of the above statement.

    Morita’s First Conjecture
    If Y is a non-discrete normal space, then there exists some normal space X such that X \times Y is not a normal space.

Though the two forms are logically equivalent, the contrapositive form seems to have a bigger punch. The contrapositive form gives an association. Each non-discrete normal space is paired with a normal space to form a non-normal product. Examples of such pairings are readily available. Michael line is paired with the space of the irrational numbers (as discussed above). The Sogenfrey line is paired with itself. The first uncountable ordinal \omega_1 is paired with \omega_1+1 (see here) or paired with the cube I^I where I=[0,1] with the usual topology (see here). There are plenty of other individual examples that can be cited. In this post, we focus on a constructive proof of finding such a pairing.

Since the conjecture had been affirmed positively, it should no longer be called a conjecture. Calling it Morita’s first theorem is not appropriate since there are other results that are identified with Morita. In this discussion, we continue to call it a conjecture. Just know that it had been proven.


Dowker’s Theorem

Next, we examine Dowker’s theorem, which characterizes normal countably paracompact spaces. The following is the statement.

Theorem 1 (Dowker’s Theorem)
Let X be a normal space. The following conditions are equivalent.

  1. The space X is countably paracompact.
  2. Every countable open cover of X has a point-finite open refinement.
  3. If \left\{U_n: n=1,2,3,\cdots \right\} is an open cover of X, there exists an open refinement \left\{V_n: n=1,2,3,\cdots \right\} such that \overline{V_n} \subset U_n for each n.
  4. The product space X \times Y is normal for any compact metric space Y.
  5. The product space X \times [0,1] is normal where [0,1] is the closed unit interval with the usual Euclidean topology.
  6. For each sequence \left\{A_n \subset X: n=1,2,3,\cdots \right\} of closed subsets of X such that A_1 \supset A_2 \supset A_3 \supset \cdots and \cap_n A_n=\varnothing, there exist open sets B_1,B_2,B_3,\cdots such that A_n \subset B_n for each n such that \cap_n B_n=\varnothing.

The theorem is discussed here and proved here. Any normal space that violates any one of the conditions in the theorem is said to be a Dowker space. One such space was constructed by Rudin in 1971 [2]. Any Dowker space would be one factor in a non-normal product space with the other factor being a compact metric space. Actually much more can be said.

The Dowker space constructed by Rudin is the solution of Morita’s conjecture for a large number of spaces. At minimum, the product of any infinite compact metric space and the Dowker space is not normal as indicated by Dowker’s theorem. Any nontrivial convergent sequence plus the limit point is a compact metric space since it is homeomorphic to S=\left\{0 \right\} \cup \left\{\frac{1}{n}: n=1,2,3,\cdots \right\} (as a subspace of the real line). Thus Rudin’s Dowker space has non-normal product with S. Furthermore, the product of Rudin’s Dowker space and any space containing a copy of S is not normal.

Spaces that contain a copy of S extend far beyond the compact metric spaces. Spaces that have lots of convergent sequences include first countable spaces, Frechet spaces and many sequential spaces (see here for an introduction for these spaces). Thus any Dowker space is an answer to Morita’s first conjecture for the non-discrete members of these classes of spaces. Actually, the range for the solution is wider than these spaces. It turns out that any space that has a countable non-discrete subspace would have a non-normal product with a Dowker space. These would include all the classes mentioned above (first countable, Frechet, sequential) as well as countably tight spaces and more.

Therefore, any Dowker space, a normal space that is not countably paracompact, is severely lacking in ability in forming normal product with another space. In order to obtain a complete solution to Morita’s first conjecture, we would need a generalized Dowker’s theorem.


Shrinking Properties

The key is to come up with a generalized Dowker’s theorem, a theorem like Theorem 1 above, except that it is for arbitrary infinite cardinality. Then a \kappa-Dowker space is a space that violates one condition in the theorem. That space would be a candidate for the solution of Morita’s first conjecture. Note that Theorem 1 is for the infinite countable cardinal \omega only. Before stating the theorem, let’s gather all the notions that will go into the theorem.

Let X be a space. Let \mathcal{U} be an open cover of the space X. The open cover \mathcal{U} is said to be shrinkable if there is an open cover \mathcal{V}=\left\{V(U): U \in \mathcal{U} \right\} such that \overline{V(U)} \subset U for each U \in \mathcal{U}. When this is the case, the open cover \mathcal{V} is said to be a shrinking of \mathcal{U}. If an open cover is shrinkable, we also say that the open cover can be shrunk (or has a shrinking).

Let \kappa be a cardinal. The space X is said to be a \kappa-shrinking space if every open cover of cardinality \le \kappa of the space X is shinkable. The space X is a shrinking space if it is a \kappa-shrinking space for every cardinal \kappa.

When a family of sets are indexed by ordinals, the notion of an increasing or decreasing family of sets is possible. For example, the family \left\{A_\alpha \subset X: \alpha<\kappa \right\} of subsets of the space X is said to be increasing if A_\beta \subset A_\gamma whenever \beta<\gamma. In other words, for an increasing family, the sets are getting larger whenever the index becomes larger. A decreasing family of sets is defined in the reverse way. These two notions are important for some shrinking properties discussed here – e.g. using an open cover that is increasing or using a family of closed sets that is decreasing.

In the previous discussion on shrinking spaces, two other shrinking properties are discussed – property \mathcal{D}(\kappa) and property \mathcal{B}(\kappa). A space X is said to have property \mathcal{D}(\kappa) if every increasing open cover of cardinality \le \kappa for the space X is shrinkable. A space X is said to have property \mathcal{B}(\kappa) if every increasing open cover of cardinality \le \kappa for the space X has a shrinking that is increasing. See this previous post for a discussion on property \mathcal{D}(\kappa) and property \mathcal{B}(\kappa).


An Attempt for a Generalized Dowker’s Theorem

Let \kappa be an infinite cardinal. The space X is said to be a \kappa-paracompact space if every open cover \mathcal{U} of X with \lvert \mathcal{U} \lvert \le \kappa has a locally finite open refinement. Thus a space is paracompact if it is \kappa-paracompact for every infinite cardinal \kappa. Of course, an \omega-paracompact space is a countably paracompact space.

For any infinite \kappa, let D_\kappa be a discrete space of size \kappa. Let p be a point not in D_\kappa. Define the space Y_\kappa=D_\kappa \cup \left\{p \right\} as follows. The subspace D_\kappa is discrete as before. The open neighborhoods at p are of the form \left\{ p \right\} \cup B where B \subset D_\kappa and \lvert D_\kappa-B \lvert<\kappa. In other words, any open set containing p contains all but less than \kappa many discrete points.

Another concept that is needed is the cardinal function called minimal tightness. Let Y be any space. Define the minimal tightness mt(Y) as the least infinite cardinal \kappa such that there is a non-discrete subspace of Y of cardinality \kappa. If Y is a discrete space, then let mt(Y)=0. For any non-discrete space Y, mt(Y)=\kappa for some infinite \kappa. Note that for the space Y_\kappa defined above would have mt(Y_\kappa)=\kappa. For any space Y, mt(Y)=\omega if and only if Y has a countable non-discrete subspace.

The following theorem can be called a \kappa-Dowker’s Theorem.

Theorem 2
Let X be a normal space. Let \kappa be an infinite cardinal. Consider the following conditions.

  1. The space X is a \kappa-paracompact space.
  2. The space X is a \kappa-shrinking space.
    • For each open cover \left\{U_\alpha: \alpha<\kappa \right\} of X, there exists an open cover \left\{V_\alpha: \alpha<\kappa \right\} such that \overline{V_\alpha} \subset U_\alpha for each \alpha<\kappa.
  3. The space X has property \mathcal{D}(\kappa).
    • For each increasing open cover \left\{U_\alpha: \alpha<\kappa \right\} of X, there exists an open cover \left\{V_\alpha: \alpha<\kappa \right\} such that \overline{V_\alpha} \subset U_\alpha for each \alpha<\kappa.
  4. For each decreasing family \left\{F_\alpha: \alpha<\kappa \right\} of closed subsets of X such that \bigcap_{\alpha<\kappa} F_\alpha=\varnothing, there exists a family \left\{G_\alpha: \alpha<\kappa \right\} of open subsets of X such that \bigcap_{\alpha<\kappa} G_\alpha=\varnothing and F_\alpha \subset G_\alpha for each \alpha<\kappa.
  5. The space X has property \mathcal{B}(\kappa).
    • For each increasing open cover \left\{U_\alpha: \alpha<\kappa \right\} of X, there exists an increasing open cover \left\{V_\alpha: \alpha<\kappa \right\} such that \overline{V_\alpha} \subset U_\alpha for each \alpha<\kappa.
  6. The product space X \times Y_\kappa is a normal space.
  7. The product space X \times Y is a normal space for some space Y with mt(Y)=\kappa.

The following diagram shows how these conditions are related.

Diagram 1
\displaystyle \begin{array}{ccccc}  1 &\text{ } & \Longrightarrow & \text{ } & 5 \\   \text{ } & \text{ } & \text{ } & \text{ } & \text{ } \\   \Downarrow & \text{ } & \text{ } & \text{ } & \Updownarrow \\   \text{ } & \text{ } & \text{ } & \text{ } & \text{ } \\   2 &\text{ } & \text{ } & \text{ } & 6 \\      \text{ } & \text{ } & \text{ } & \text{ } & \text{ } \\   \Downarrow & \text{ } & \text{ } & \text{ } & \Downarrow \\   \text{ } & \text{ } & \text{ } & \text{ } & \text{ } \\    3 & \text{ } & \Longleftarrow & \text{ } & 7 \\  \text{ } & \text{ } & \text{ } & \text{ } & \text{ } \\  \Updownarrow & \text{ } & \text{ } & \text{ } & \text{ } \\  \text{ } & \text{ } & \text{ } & \text{ } & \text{ } \\  4 & \text{ } & \text{ } & \text{ } & \text{ }  \end{array}

In addition to Diagram 1, we have the relations 5 \Longrightarrow 3 and 2 \not \Longrightarrow 5.

At first glance, Diagram 1 might give the impression that the conditions in the theorem form a loop. It turns out the strongest property is \kappa-paracompactness (condition 1). Since condition 2 does not imply condition 5, condition 2 does not imply condition 1. Thus the conditions do not form a loop.

The implications 1 \Longrightarrow 2 \Longrightarrow 3 \Longleftarrow 5 and 6 \Longrightarrow 7 are immediate. The following implications are established in this previous post.

    3 \Longleftrightarrow 4 (Theorem 4)

    5 \Longleftrightarrow 6 (Theorem 7)

    2 \not \Longrightarrow 5 (Example 1)

The remaining implications to be shown are 1 \Longrightarrow 5 and 7 \Longrightarrow 3.


Proof of Theorem 2

1 \Longrightarrow 5
Let \mathcal{U}=\left\{U_\alpha: \alpha<\kappa \right\} be an increasing open cover of X. By \kappa-paracompactness, let \mathcal{G} be a locally finite open refinement of \mathcal{U}. For each \alpha<\kappa, define W_\alpha as follows:

    W_\alpha=\cup \left\{G \in \mathcal{G}: G \subset U_\alpha \right\}

Then \mathcal{W}=\left\{W_\alpha: \alpha<\kappa \right\} is still a locally finite refinement of \mathcal{U}. Since the space X is normal, any locally finite open cover is shrinkable. Let \mathcal{E}=\left\{E_\alpha: \alpha<\kappa \right\} be a shrinking of \mathcal{W}. The open cover \mathcal{E} is also locally finite. For each \alpha, let V_\alpha=\bigcup_{\beta<\alpha} E_\beta. Then \mathcal{V}=\left\{V_\alpha: \alpha<\kappa \right\} is an increasing open cover of X. Note that

    \overline{V_\alpha}=\overline{\bigcup_{\beta<\alpha} E_\beta}=\bigcup_{\beta<\alpha} \overline{E_\beta}

since \mathcal{E} is locally finite and thus closure preserving. Since \mathcal{U} is increasing, \overline{E_\beta} \subset W_\beta \subset U_\beta \subset U_\alpha for all \beta<\alpha. This means that \overline{V_\alpha} \subset U_\alpha for all \alpha.

7 \Longrightarrow 3
Since condition 3 is equivalent to condition 4, we show 7 \Longrightarrow 4. Suppose that X \times Y is normal where Y is a space such that mt(Y)=\kappa. Let D=\left\{d_\alpha: \alpha<\kappa \right\} be a non-discrete subset of Y. Let p be a point such that p \ne d_\alpha for all \alpha and such that p is a limit point of D (this means that every open set containing p contains some d_\alpha). Let \mathcal{F}=\left\{F_\alpha: \alpha<\kappa \right\} be a decreasing family of closed subsets of X such that \bigcap_{\alpha<\kappa} F_\alpha=\varnothing. Define H and K as follows:

    H=\cup \left\{F_\alpha \times \left\{d_\alpha \right\}: \alpha<\kappa \right\}

    K=X \times \left\{p \right\}

The sets H and K are clearly disjoint. The set K is clearly a closed subset of X \times Y. To show that H is closed, let (x,y) \in (X \times Y)-H. Two cases to consider: x \in F_0 or x \notin F_0 where F_0 is the first closed set in the family \mathcal{F}.

The first case x \in F_0. Let \beta<\kappa be least such that x \notin F_\beta. Then y \ne d_\gamma for all \gamma<\beta since (x,y) \in (X \times Y)-H. In the space Y, any subset of cardinality <\kappa is a closed set. Let E=Y-\left\{d_\gamma: \gamma<\beta \right\}, which is open containing y. Let O \subset X be open such that x \in O and O \cap F_\beta=\varnothing. Then (x,y) \in O \times E and O \times E misses points of H.

Now consider the second case x \notin F_0. Let O \subset X be open such that x \in O and O misses F_0. Then O \times Y is an open set containing (x,y) such that O \times Y misses H. Thus H is a closed subset of X \times Y.

Since X \times Y is normal, choose open V \subset X \times Y such that H \subset V and \overline{V} \cap K=\varnothing. For each \alpha<\kappa, define G_\alpha as follows:

    G_\alpha=\left\{x \in X: (x,d_\alpha) \in V \right\}

Note that each G_\alpha is open in X and that F_\alpha \subset G_\alpha for each \alpha<\kappa. We claim that \bigcap_{\alpha<\kappa} G_\alpha=\varnothing. Let x \in X. The point (x,p) is in K. Thus (x,p) \notin \overline{V}. Choose an open set L \times M such that (x,p) \in L \times M and (L \times M) \cap \overline{V}=\varnothing. Since p \in M, there is some \gamma<\kappa such that d_\gamma \in M. Since (x,d_\gamma) \notin \overline{V}, (x,d_\gamma) \notin V. Thus x \notin G_\gamma. This establishes the claim that \bigcap_{\alpha<\kappa} G_\alpha=\varnothing.


\kappa-Dowker Space

Analogous to the Dowker space, a \kappa-Dowker space is a normal space that violates one condition in Theorem 2. Since the seven conditions listed in Theorem 7 are not all equivalent, which condition to use? Condition 1 is the strongest condition since it implies all the other condition. At the lower left corner of Diagram 1 is condition 3, which follows from every other condition. Thus condition 3 (or 4) is the weakest property. An appropriate definition of a \kappa-Dowker space is through negating condition 3 or condition 4. Thus, given an infinite cardinal \kappa, a \kappa-Dowker space is a normal space X that satisfies the following condition:

    There exists a decreasing family \left\{F_\alpha: \alpha<\kappa \right\} of closed subsets of X with \bigcap_{\alpha<\kappa} F_\alpha=\varnothing such that for every family \left\{G_\alpha: \alpha<\kappa \right\} of open subsets of X with F_\alpha \subset G_\alpha for each \alpha, \bigcap_{\alpha<\kappa} G_\alpha \ne \varnothing.

The definition of \kappa-Dowker space is through negating condition 4. Of course, negating condition 3 would give an equivalent definition.

When \kappa is the countably infinite cardinal \omega, a \kappa-Dowker space is simply the ordinary Dowker space constructed by M. E. Rudin [2]. Rudin generalized the construction of the ordinary Dowker space to obtain a \kappa-Dowker space for every infinite cardinal \kappa [4]. The space that Rudin constructed in [4] would be a normal space X such that condition 4 of Theorem 2 is violated. This means that the space X would violate condition 7 in Theorem 2. Thus X \times Y is not normal for every space Y with mt(Y)=\kappa.

Here’s the solution of Morita’s first conjecture. Let Y be a normal and non-discrete space. Determine the least cardinality \kappa of a non-discrete subspace of Y. Obtain the \kappa-Dowker space X as in [4]. Then X \times Y is not normal according to the preceding paragraph.



Answering Morita’s first conjecture is a two-step approach. First, figure out what a generalized Dowker’s theorem should be. Then a \kappa-Dowker space is one that violates an appropriate condition in the generalized Dowker’s theorem. By violating the right condition in the theorem, we have a way to obtain non-normal product space needed in the answer. The second step is of course the proof of the existence of a space that violates the condition in the generalized Dowker’s theorem.

Figuring out the form of the generalized Dowker’s theorem took some work. It is more than just changing the countable infinite cardinal in Dowker’s theorem (Theorem 1 above) to an arbitrary infinite cardinal. This is because the conditions in Theorem 1 are unequal when the cardinality is changed to an uncountable one.

We take the cue from Rudin’s chapter on Dowker spaces [3]. In the last page of that chapter, Rudin pointed out the conditions that should go into a generalized Dowker’s theorem. However, the explanation of the relationship among the conditions is not clear. The previous post and this post are an attempt to sort out the conditions and fill in as much details as possible.

Rudin’s chapter did have the right condition for defining \kappa-Dowker space. It seems that prior to the writing of that chapter, there was some confusion on how to define a \kappa-Dowker space, i.e. a condition in the theorem the violation of which would give a \kappa-Dowker space. If the condition used is a stronger property, the violation may not yield enough information to get non-normal products. According to Diagram 1, condition 3 in Theorem 2 is the right one to use since it is the weakest condition and is down streamed from the conditions about normal product space. So the violation of condition 3 would answer Morita’s first conjecture.

We do not discuss the other step in the solution in any details. Any interested reader can review Rudin’s construction in [2] and [4]. The \kappa-Dowker space is an appropriate subspace of a product space with the box topology.

One interesting observation about the ordinary Dowker space (the one that violates a condition in Theorem 1) is that the product of any Dowker space and any space with a countable non-discrete subspace is not normal. This shows that Dowker space is badly non-productive with respect to normality. This fact is actually not obvious in the usual formulation of Dowker’s theorem (Theorem 1 above). What makes this more obvious in the direction 7 \Longrightarrow 3 in Theorem 2. For the countably infinite case, 7 \Longrightarrow 3 is essentially this: If X \times Y is normal where Y has a countable non-discrete subspace, then X is not a Dowker space. Thus if the goal is to find a non-normal product space, a Dowker space should be one space to check.


Loose Ends

In the course of working on the contents in this post and the previous post, there are some questions that we do not know how to answer and have not spent time to verify one way or the other. Possibly there are some loose ends to tie. They for the most parts are not open questions, but they should be interesting questions to consider.

For the \kappa-Dowker’s theorem (Theorem 2), one natural question is on the relative strengths of the conditions. It will be interesting to find out the implications not shown in Diagram 1. For example, for the three shrinking properties (conditions 2, 3 and 5), it is straightforward from definition that 2 \Longrightarrow 3 and 5 \Longrightarrow 3. The example of X=\omega_1 (the first uncountable ordinal) shows that 2 \not \Longrightarrow 5 and hence 2 \not \Longrightarrow 1. What about 3 \Longrightarrow 2? In [5], Beslagic and Rudin showed that 3 \not \Longrightarrow 2 using \Diamond ^{++}. A natural question would be: can there be ZFC example? Perhaps searching on more recent papers can yield some answers.

Another question is 5 \Longrightarrow 1? The answer is no with the example being a Navy space – Example 7.6 in p. 194 [1]. The other two directions that have not been accounted for are: 7 \Longrightarrow 6 and 3 \Longrightarrow 7? We do not know the answer.

Another small question that we come across is about X=\omega_1 (the first uncountable ordinal). This is an example for showing 2 \not \Longrightarrow 5. Thus condition 6 is false. Thus X \times Y_{\omega_1} is not normal. Here Y_{\omega_1} is simply the one-point Lindelofication of a discrete space of cardinality \omega_1. The question is: is condition 7 true for X=\omega_1? The product of X=\omega_1 and Y_{\omega_1} (a space with minimal tightness \omega_1) is not normal. Is there a normal X \times Y where Y is another space with minimal tightness \omega_1?

Dowker’s theorem and \kappa-Dowker’s theorem show that finding a normal space that is not shrinking is not a simple matter. To find a normal space that is not countably shrinking took 20 years (1951 to 1971). For any uncountable \kappa, the \kappa-Dowker space that is based on the same construction of an ordinary Dowker space is also a space that is not \kappa-shrinking. With an uncountable \kappa, is the \kappa-Dowker space countably shrinking? This is not obvious one way or the other just from the definition of \kappa-Dowker space. Perhaps there is something obvious and we have not connected the dots. Perhaps we need to go into the definition of the \kappa-Dowker space in [4] to show that it is countably shrinking. The motivation is that we tried to find a normal space that is countably shrinking but not \kappa-shrinking for some uncountable \kappa. It seems that the \kappa-Dowker space in [4] is the natural candidate.



  1. Morita K., Nagata J.,Topics in General Topology, Elsevier Science Publishers, B. V., The Netherlands, 1989.
  2. Rudin M. E., A Normal Space X for which X \times I is not Normal, Fund. Math., 73, 179-486, 1971. (link)
  3. Rudin M. E., Dowker Spaces, Handbook of Set-Theoretic Topology (K. Kunen and J. E. Vaughan, eds), Elsevier Science Publishers B. V., Amsterdam, (1984) 761-780.
  4. Rudin M. E., \kappa-Dowker Spaces, Czechoslovak Mathematical Journal, 28, No.2, 324-326, 1978. (link)
  5. Rudin M. E., Beslagic A.,Set-Theoretic Constructions of Non-Shrinking Open Covers, Topology Appl., 20, 167-177, 1985. (link)
  6. Yasui Y., On the Characterization of the \mathcal{B}-Property by the Normality of Product Spaces, Topology and its Applications, 15, 323-326, 1983. (abstract and paper)
  7. Yasui Y., Some Characterization of a \mathcal{B}-Property, TSUKUBA J. MATH., 10, No. 2, 243-247, 1986.

\copyright \ 2017 \text{ by Dan Ma}


3 thoughts on “kappa-Dowker space and the first conjecture of Morita

  1. Pingback: The product of a perfectly normal space and a metric space is perfectly normal | Dan Ma's Topology Blog

  2. Pingback: Extracting more information from Dowker’s theorem | Dan Ma's Topology Blog

  3. Pingback: Three conjectures of K Morita | Dan Ma's Topology Blog

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