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This chapter is about metric spaces, an abstract generalization of the real line that allows discussion of open and closed sets, limits, convergence, continuity, and similar properties. The usual distance function for the real line becomes an example of a metric. The other notions are defined in terms of the metric. The advantage of the generalization is that proofs of certain properties of the real line immediately go over to all other examples.

Section 1 gives the definition of metric space and open set, and it lists a number of important examples, including Euclidean spaces and certain spaces of functions.

Sections 2 through 4 develop properties of open and closed sets, continuity, and convergence of sequences that are simple generalizations of known facts about $\mathbb{R}$.

Section 5 shows how a subset of a metric space can be made into a metric space so that the restriction of a continuous function from the whole space to the subset remains continuous. It also shows that three natural metrics for the product of two metric spaces lead to the same open sets, continuous functions, and convergent sequences.

Section 6 shows that any metric space is “Hausdorff,” “regular,” and “normal,” and it goes on to exhibit three different countability hypotheses about a metric space as equivalent. A metric space with these properties is called “separable.”

Section 7 concerns compactness and completeness. A metric space is defined to be “compact” if every open cover has a finite subcover. This property is equivalent to the condition that every sequence has a convergent subsequence. The Heine–Borel Theorem says that the compact sets of $\mathbb{R}^n$ are exactly the closed bounded sets. A number of the results early in Chapter I that were proved by the Bolzano–Weierstrass Theorem in the context of the real line are seen to extend to any compact metric space. A metric space is “complete” if every Cauchy sequence is convergent. A metric space is compact if and only if it is complete and “totally bounded.”

Section 8 concerns connectedness, which is an abstraction of the property of an interval of the line that accounts for the Intermediate Value Theorem.

Section 9 proves a fundamental result known as the Baire Category Theorem. A sample consequence of the theorem is that the pointwise limit of a sequence of continuous complex-valued functions on a complete metric space must have points where it is continuous.

Section 10 studies the spaces of real-valued and complex-valued continuous functions on a compact metric space. A generalization of Ascoli's Theorem from the setting of Chapter I provides a characterization of compact sets in either of these spaces of continuous functions. A generalization of the Weierstrass Approximation Theorem, known as the Stone–Weierstrass Theorem, gives sufficient conditions for a subalgebra of either of these spaces of continuous functions to be dense. One consequence is that these spaces of continuous functions are separable.

Section 11 constructs the “completion” of a metric space out of Cauchy sequences in the given space. The result is a complete metric space and a distance-preserving map of the given metric space into the completion such that the image is dense.


Published: 1 January 2016
First available in Project Euclid: 26 July 2018

Digital Object Identifier: 10.3792/euclid/9781429799997-2

Rights: Copyright © 2016, Anthony W. Knapp


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