Normality in Cp(X)

Any collectionwise normal space is a normal space. Any perfectly normal space is a hereditarily normal space. In general these two implications are not reversible. In function spaces C_p(X), the two implications are reversible. There is a normal space that is not countably paracompact (such a space is called a Dowker space). If a function space C_p(X) is normal, it is countably paracompact. Thus normality in C_p(X) is a strong property. This post draws on Dowker’s theorem and other results, some of them are previously discussed in this blog, to discuss this remarkable aspect of the function spaces C_p(X).

Since we are discussing function spaces, the domain space X has to have sufficient quantity of real-valued continuous functions, e.g. there should be enough continuous functions to separate the points from closed sets. The ideal setting is the class of completely regular spaces (also called Tychonoff spaces). See here for a discussion on completely regular spaces in relation to function spaces.

Let X be a completely regular space. Let C(X) be the set of all continuous functions from X into the real line \mathbb{R}. When C(X) is endowed with the pointwise convergence topology, the space is denoted by C_p(X) (see here for further comments on the definition of the pointwise convergence topology).

When Function Spaces are Normal

Let X be a completely regular space. We discuss these four facts of C_p(X):

  1. If the function space C_p(X) is normal, then C_p(X) is countably paracompact.
  2. If the function space C_p(X) is hereditarily normal, then C_p(X) is perfectly normal.
  3. If the function space C_p(X) is normal, then C_p(X) is collectionwise normal.
  4. Let X be a normal space. If C_p(X) is normal, then X has countable extent, i.e. every closed and discrete subset of X is countable, implying that X is collectionwise normal.

Fact #1 and Fact #2 rely on a representation of C_p(X) as a product space with one of the factors being the real line. For x \in X, let Y_x=\left\{f \in C_p(X): f(x)=0 \right\}. Then C_p(X) \cong Y_x \times \mathbb{R}. This representation is discussed here.

Another useful tool is Dowker’s theorem, which essentially states that for any normal space W, the space W is countably paracompact if and only if W \times C is normal for all compact metric space C if and only if W \times [0,1] is normal. For the full statement of the theorem, see Theorem 1 in this previous post, which has links to the proofs and other discussion.

To show Fact #1, suppose that C_p(X) is normal. Immediately we make use of the representation C_p(X) \cong Y_x \times \mathbb{R} where x \in X. Since Y_x \times \mathbb{R} is normal, Y_x \times [0,1] is also normal. By Dowker’s theorem, Y_x is countably paracompact. Note that Y_x is a closed subspace of the normal C_p(X). Thus Y_x is also normal.

One more helpful tool is Theorem 5 in in this previous post, which is like an extension of Dowker’s theorem, which states that a normal space W is countably paracompact if and only if W \times T is normal for any \sigma-compact metric space T. This means that Y_x \times \mathbb{R} \times \mathbb{R} is normal.

We want to show C_p(X) \cong Y_x \times \mathbb{R} is countably paracompact. Since Y_x \times \mathbb{R} \times \mathbb{R} is normal (based on the argument in the preceding paragraph), (Y_x \times \mathbb{R}) \times [0,1] is normal. Thus according to Dowker’s theorem, C_p(X) \cong Y_x \times \mathbb{R} is countably paracompact.

For Fact #2, a helpful tool is Katetov’s theorem (stated and proved here), which states that for any hereditarily normal X \times Y, one of the factors is perfectly normal or every countable subset of the other factor is closed (in that factor).

To show Fact #2, suppose that C_p(X) is hereditarily normal. With C_p(X) \cong Y_x \times \mathbb{R} and according to Katetov’s theorem, Y_x must be perfectly normal. The product of a perfectly normal space and any metric space is perfectly normal (a proof is found here). Thus C_p(X) \cong Y_x \times \mathbb{R} is perfectly normal.

The proof of Fact #3 is found in Problems 294 and 295 of [2]. The key to the proof is a theorem by Reznichenko, which states that any dense convex normal subspace of [0,1]^X has countable extent, hence is collectionwise normal (problem 294). See here for a proof that any normal space with countable extent is collectionwise normal (see Theorem 2). The function space C_p(X) is a dense convex subspace of [0,1]^X (problem 295). Thus if C_p(X) is normal, then it has countable extent and hence collectionwise normal.

Fact #4 says that normality of the function space imposes countable extent on the domain. This result is discussed in this previous post (see Corollary 3 and Corollary 5).


The facts discussed here give a flavor of what function spaces are like when they are normal spaces. For further and deeper results, see [1] and [2].

Fact #1 is essentially driven by Dowker’s theorem. It follows from the theorem that whenever the product space X \times Y is normal, one of the factor must be countably paracompact if the other factor has a non-trivial convergent sequence (see Theorem 2 in this previous post). As a result, there is no Dowker space that is a C_p(X). No pathology can be found in C_p(X) with respect to finding a Dowker space. In fact, not only C_p(X) \times C is normal for any compact metric space C, it is also true that C_p(X) \times T is normal for any \sigma-compact metric space T when C_p(X) is normal.

The driving force behind Fact #2 is Katetov’s theorem, which basically says that the hereditarily normality of X \times Y is a strong statement. Coupled with the fact that C_p(X) is of the form Y_x \times \mathbb{R}, Katetov’s theorem implies that Y_x \times \mathbb{R} is perfectly normal. The argument also uses the basic fact that perfectly normality is preserved when taking product with metric spaces.

There are examples of normal but not collectionwise normal spaces (e.g. Bing’s Example G). Resolution of the question of whether normal but not collectionwise normal Moore space exists took extensive research that spanned decades in the 20th century (the normal Moore space conjecture). The function C_p(X) is outside of the scope of the normal Moore space conjecture. The function space C_p(X) is usually not a Moore space. It can be a Moore space only if the domain X is countable but then C_p(X) would be a metric space. However, it is still a powerful fact that if C_p(X) is normal, then it is collectionwise normal.

On the other hand, a more interesting point is on the normality of X. Suppose that X is a normal Moore space. If C_p(X) happens to be normal, then Fact #4 says that X would have to be collectionwise normal, which means X is metrizable. If the goal is to find a normal Moore space X that is not collectionwise normal, the normality of C_p(X) would kill the possibility of X being the example.


  1. Arkhangelskii, A. V., Topological Function Spaces, Mathematics and Its Applications Series, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, 1992.
  2. Tkachuk V. V., A C_p-Theory Problem Book, Topological and Function Spaces, Springer, New York, 2011.

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\copyright 2017 – Dan Ma