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Real Number Systems

Mohan K. Kadalbajoo

Professor(Retd.)
IIT Kanpur

Presently : Dept. of Mathematics,


LNMIIT Jaipur

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Outline

Introduction and Motivation


Sets and Subsets
Real Number System
The field Axioms and their algebra
The Order Axioms
Integers and Rational Numbers
Upper bound, lower bound, least upper bound (Supremum) and
greatest lower bound (Infimum)
The least upper bound axiom (Completeness axiom)
The Archimedean Property
Mathematical Induction
Absolute Value, Triangle Inequality/Reverse traingle inequality
Density of Rationals in R
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No general agreement as to what should constitute a first course in
calculus.
Some feel the only way to really understand Calculus is to start with
real-number system and develop the subject step by step in a logical
and rigorous manner.
Others feel that Calculus is primarily a tool for scientists and
engineers and should stress on applications.
Both the above arguements are sound in their own right.
Calculus is a deductive science and a branch of mathematics, has
strong roots in physical problems and derives much of its power and
beauty from the variety of its applications.
We shall try to strike a sensible balance between the two.

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Motivation

To give an idea of many different types of problems that can be treated by


the methods of Calculus, we give here a few sample questions:
With what speed should a rocket be fired upward so that it never
returns to earth?
What is the radius of the smallest circular disk that can cover every
isosceles triangle of a given perimeter L?
What volume of material is removed from a solid sphere of radius 2r
if a hole of radius r is drilled through the centre?
If a strain of bacteria grows at a rate proportional to the amount
present and if the population doubles in one hour, by how much will it
increase at the end of two hours?
If a ten-pound force stretches an elastic spring one inch, how much
work is required to stretch the spring one foot?

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All the above questions can be answered by applications of Calculus.
Calculus is more than a technical tool - it is a collection of fascinating and
exciting ideas that have to do with speed, area volume, rate of growth,
continuity, tangent line and other concepts from a variety of fields.
The study of Calculus requires a certain mathematical background
and as a prelude we shall briefly discuss sets and the real-number system.

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Set Theory - An Introduction

In mathematics, the word set is used to represent a collection of objects.


The individual objects in the collection are called elementsor members
of the set.
Notations:
Sets usually are denoted by capital letters - A, B, C ,...;
elements are designated by lower-case letters: a, b, c,...
We use the special notation

x S

to mean that x is an element of S or x belongs to S . If x does not


belong to S, we write

x
/S

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Definition (of set equality)
Two sets A and B are said to be equal (or identical) if they consist
of exactly the same elements, and in which case we write A = B. If one of
the sets contains an element not in the other, we say that the sets are
unequal and we write A 6= B. Example: The sets {2, 4, 6, 8} and {2, 8, 6,
4} are equal since they both contain the four integers 2, 4, 6 and 8.
The sets {2, 4, 6, 8} and {2, 2, 4, 4, 6, 8} are equal even though in the
second set, each of elements 2 and 4 is listed twice.

Subsets
A set A is said to be a subset of B and we write

AB

whenever every element of A also belongs to B. We also say that A is


contained in B or that B contains A.

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We also have
A = B if and only if A B and B A
A is a proper subset of B, if A B but A 6= B, and we denote it A B.
A set that contains no elements is called an empty set denoted by . Thus
is subset of every set.

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Union, Intersections, Complements

The union of two sets A and B denoted by A B is defined as a set of


those elements which are in A, in B or in both.
The intersection of A and B denoted by A B, is defined as the set of
those elements common to both A and B. Two sets A and B are said to
be disjoint if A B = . If A and B are sets, the difference A B (also
called the complement of B relative to A) is defined to be the set of all
elements of A which are not in B. Thus, by definition,

A B = {x|x A and x
/ B}

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Real Number System

One popular method to introduce the real number system is to begin with
positive (natural) integers 1, 2, 3, . . . and use them as a building block:
i.e., take the positive integers as undefined concepts, use these integers to
build a larger system consisting of positive rational numbers and these in
turn can be used as a basis for constructing the positive irrational numbers.
The final step is the introduction of negative real numbers and zero.
Note: The most difficult part of the whole process is the transition from
the rational numbers to the irrational numbers.
Remark: Need for irrational numbers was apparent to the ancient Greeks
(from their study of geometry)

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Satisfactory methods for constructing irrational numbers from rational
numbers were not known till late in the nineteenth century. At that time
three different theories were given by Karl Weirstrass (1815 - 1897),
Greorg Cantor (1845 - 1915) and Richard Dedekind (1831-1916). In 1889,
the Italian mathematician Guiseppe Peano (1858 - 1932) listed five axioms
for the positive integers that could be used as the starting point of the
whole construction. We shall not follow this approach of Peano postulates
and using the method of Dedekind to introduce irrational numbers.
Alternatively we shall adopt a non-constructive approach. We take the real
number themselves as undefined objects satisfying a number of properties,
that we call here as axioms. We classify these axioms into three groups
called as the field axioms, the order axiom, the least upper bound axiom
(also called the axiom of continuity to the completeness axiom).

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The field axioms
Axiom1. Commutative laws

x + y = y + x, xy = yx

Axiom2. Associative laws

x + (y + z) = (x + y ) + z, x(yz) = (xy )z

Axiom3. Distributive laws

x(y + z) = xy + xz

Axiom4. Existence of identity elements


There exist two distinct real numbers, denoted by 0 and 1,
such that for every real x we have

x + 0 = x and 1.x = x

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Axiom5. Existence of negatives
For very real number x there is a real number y such that

x +y =0

Axiom6. Existence of reciprocals For every real number x 6= 0,


is a real number y such that xy = 1
Note: The numbers 0 and 1 in Axioms 5 and 6 are those of Axiom 4.
From the above axioms, we can deduce all the usual laws of elementary
algebra:

1. Cancellation law for addition


If a + b = a + c, then b = c
(In particular this shows that the number 0 of axiom 4 is unique)

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2. Possibility of subtraction
Given a and b, there is exactly one x such that
a + x = b. This x is denoted by b a. In particular, 0 a is written
simply a and is called the negative of a.
3. b a = b + (a)
4. (a) = a
5. a(b c) = ab ac
6. 0.a = a.0 = 0
7. Cancellation law of multiplication
If ab = ac and a 6= 0, then
b = c. (In particular, this shows that the number 1 of axiom 4 is unique).

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8. Possibility of Division
Given a and b with a 6= 0, there is exactly one x such that ax = b. This x
is denoted by b/a and is called the quotient of b and a. In particular, 1/a
is also written as a1 and is called the reciprocal of a.
9. If a 6= 0, then b/a = b.a1
10. If a 6= 0, then (a1 )1 = a
11. If ab = 0, them a = 0 or b = 0
12. (a)b = (ab), and (a)(b) = ab
13. a/b + c/d = (ad + bc)/(bd), if b 6= 0 and d 6= 0
14. (a/b).(c/d) = (ac)/(bd) if b 6= 0 and d 6= 0
15. (a/b)/(c/d) = (ad)/(bc) if b 6= 0 and d 6= 0
To illustrate how these statements may be obtained as a consequences of
the axioms, we presume a few proofs here:

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Proofs:
1. Given a + b = a + c. By axiom 5, there is number such that
y + a = 0. Since sums are uniquely determined, we have
y + (a + b) = y + (a + c)
using the associative law, we obtain
(y + a) + b = (y + a) + c
or 0 + b = 0 + c
But, by axiom 4, we have
0 + b = b and 0 + c = c
so that b = c
2. Given a and b, choose y so that
a + y = 0 and let x = y + b. Then
a + x = a + (y + b) = (a + y ) + b = 0 + b = b
Therefore, there is at least one x such that a + x = b. But by law 1 there
is at most one such x. Hence there is exactly one.

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3. Let x = b a and let y = b + (a).
We wish to prove that x = y . Now
x + a = b and
y + a = [b + (a)] + a = b + [(a) = a] = b + 0 = b
Therfore, x + a = y + a, and hence by law 1, x = y
4. We have a + (a) = 0 by the definition of a. But this equation tell
us that a is the negative of a. That is,
a = (a).

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The order axioms

This group of axioms establishes an ordering among the real numbers. We


shall assume that there exists a certain subset R + R, called the set of
positive numbers, which satisfies the following three order axioms:
Axiom 7. If x and y are in R + , so are x + y and xy
Axiom 8. For every real x 6= 0, either x R + or x R + , but not both.
Axiom 9. 0 / R+
Now we can define the symbols <, >, , called respectively less than,
greater than, less than or equal to and greater than or equal to as follows
x < y means that y x is positive
y > x means that x < y
x y means that either x < y or x = y
y x means that x y

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From the order axioms, we can derive all the usual rules for calculating
with inequalities. The most important of these are:
16. For arbitrary real numbers a and b, exactly one of the three relations
a < b, b < a, a = b holds.
17. If a < b and b < c, then a < c
18. If a < b, the a + c < b + c
19. If a < b, and c > 0, then ac < bc
20. If a 6= 0, then a2 > 0
21. 1 > 0
22. If a < b and c < 0 then ac > bc
23. If a < b, then a < b
24. If ab > 0, then both a and b are positive or both are negative.
25. If a < c and b < d, then a + b < c + d

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Integers and Rational numbers

There exist certain subsets of R which are distinguished because they have
special properties not shared by all real numbers. We shall discuss two
such subsets, the integers and the rational numbers.
To introduce the positive integers, we begin with the number 1,
whose existence is guaranteed by Axiom 4. The number 1 + 1 is denoted
by 2, the number 2+1 by 3, and so on. The number 1, 2, 3, ... obtained
this way are all positive and are called positive integers. This description
of positive integers is not entirely complete and we shall try to give a more
precise definition of the positive integers.

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Definition(Inductive Set)
A set of real numbers is called inductive set if it has the following two
properties:
a) The number 1 is in the set
b) For every x in the set, the number x + 1 is also in the set.
For example, R is an inductive set. So is the set R +

Definition(Positive integers)
A real number is called a positive integer if it belongs to every inductive
set.
The negatives of the positive integers are called the negative
integers. The positive integers together with the negative integers and 0
(zero) form a set Z which we call simply the set of integers.

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The sum, difference or product of two integers is an integer, but the
quotient of two integers need not be an integer.
Quotients of integers a/b, where b 6= 0, are called rational numbers.
The set of rational numbers, denoted by Q, contains Z as a subset. One
may notice that all the field axioms and the order axioms are satisfied by
Q. For this reason, we say that the set of rational numbers is an ordered
field. Real numbers that are not in Q are called irrational.

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Geometrical Interpretation
of real numbers as points on a line

The ordering relation among the real numbers has a simple geometric
interpretation. If x < y , the point x lies to the left of the point y . Positive
numbers lie to the right of 0 and negative numbers to the left of 0. If
a < b, a point x satisfies the inequality a < x < b if and only if x is
between a and b.

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Upper bound of a set, least upper bound (Supremum)

The nine axioms listed above contain all the properties of real numbers
usually discussed in elementary algebra. There is another axiom of
fundamental of importance in Calculus which is used to establish the
existence of irrational numbers. Irrational numbers arise in elementary
algebra when we try to solve certain quadratic equations, such as
x 2 2 = 0. From the nine axioms above, we cannot prove that such an x
exists in R, because these nine axioms are also satisfied by Q, and there is
no rational number x whose square is 2.
Before we introduce Axiom 10, we introduce some more terminology and
notation:

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Suppose S is a nonempty set of real numbers and suppose there is a
number B such that

x B

for every x S. Then S is said to be bounded above by B. The number


B is called an upper bound of S. If an upper bound of B is also a member
of S, then B is called the largest member or the maximum element of S.
A set with no upper bound is said to be unbounded above.

Example 1
Let S be the set of all positive real numbers. This set is unbounded
above. It has no upper bound and no maximum element.

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Example 2
Let S be the set of all real x satisfying 0 x 1. This set is
bounded above by 1. In fact 1 is its maximum element.

Example 3
Let T be the set of all real x satisfying 0 x < 1. This set is
bounded above by 1 but it has no maximum element.

Note: Some sets like the one in example 3 are bounded above but have
no maximum element. For these sets there is a concept which takes the
place of the maximum element. This is called the least upper bound of
the set and it is defined as follows:

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Definition(Least upper bound) A number is called a least upper bound
of a nonempty set S if B has the following two properties: a) B is an
upper bound for S
b) No number less than B is an upper bound for S.

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Theorem
Two different members cannot be least upper bounds for the same set.

Proof: Suppose that B and C are two least upper bounds for a set S.
Property b) implies that C B since B is a least upper bound; Similarly,
B C since C is a least upper bound. Hence, we have B = C .
This theorem tells us that if there is a least upper bound for a set S,
there is only one and we may speak of the least upper bound. We also
refer to the least upper bound of a set by Supremum and thus

B = sup S

would express the fact that B is the least upper bound, or Supremum of S.

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The least upper bound axiom (Completeness axiom)

We now state the least upper bound axiom for the real number system.

Axiom 10. Every nonempty set S of real numbers which is bounded above
has a supramum. That is there is a real number B such that B = sup S

Note: We emphasise once more that the supramum of S need not be a


member of S. In fact sup S belongs to S if and only if S has a maximum
element, in which case, maxS = sup S.

Definition Let S be a nonempty subset of R. The set S is said to be


bounded below, if there exists a number w R such that w s for all
s S. Each such member w is called a lower bound of S.

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Greatest lower bound or infinimum

Greatest lower bound or infinimum A number L is called a greatest


lower bound or infinimum of S if a) L is a lower bound of S, and
b) No number greater than L is a lower bound of S.
The infinimum of S when it exists, is uniquely determined and we denote
it by inf S.
If S has a minimum element, then min S = inf S

Remark: Using Axiom 10, we can prove the following:


Every nonempty set S that is bounded below has a greatest lower bound;
that is, there is a real number L such that L = inf S

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Example: Let us refer to the examples given above:
In Example 1, the set of all positive real numbers, the number 0 is the
infinimum of S. This set has no minimum element.
In Examples 2 and 3, the number 0 is the minimum element.
Note: In all these examples given above, it was very easy to decide
whether or not the set S was bounded above or below, and it was also
easy to determine the number supS and infS . Let us consider a more
difficult example:
Example 4
Let S be the set of all numbers of the form,

1 n
 
1+ forn = 1, 2, 3, ...
n

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For example, taking n = 1, 2 and 3 we find the numbers
2, 94 , and 64
27 are in S.
Every number in the set is greater than 1, so the set is bounded below and
has an infinimum. With a little effort, we can show that 2 is the smallest
element of S and so inf S = 2 =min S.
The set S is also bounded above (not easy to prove). Once we know that
S is bounded above, Axiom 10 tells us that there is a number which is in
the supremum of S. The supremum of S is an irrational number
approximately equal to 2.718 and it is an important number called the
Euler number e.

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The Archimedean Property

We give here a number of properties of the real number system which are
consequences of the least upper bound axiom:
P1: The set of P of positive integers 1, 2, 3... is unbounded above.
P2: For every real x there exists a positive integer n such that n > x
P3: If x > 0 and if y is an arbitrary real number, there exists a positive
integer n such that nx > y .

The property P3 is called the Archimedean property of the real numbers


system.
Geometrically it means that any line segment no matter how long
may be covered by a finite number of line segments of a given
positive length, no matter how small.

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In other words a small ruler can measure arbitrarily large distances.
Archimedes realised that this was a fundamental property of the straight
line and stated it explicitly as one of the axioms of geometry. In the 19th
and 20th century, non-Archimedean geometries have been constructed in
which this axiom has been rejected.
From the Archimedean property, we can prove the following
theorem, which will be useful in integral Calculus.
Theorem
If three real numbers a, x and y satisfy the inequalities
y
ax a+ ....()
n
For every integer n 1, then x = a.

Proof: If x > a, the property P3 tell us that there is a positive integer n


satisfying n(x a) > y , which contradicting (*). Hence we cannot have
x > a and so we must have x = a.
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Mathematical Induction
It is a powerful method of proof that is frequently used to establish the
validity of statements that are given in terms of the natural numbers.
Let us consider the set of natural numbers:

N = {1, 2, 3, ...}

with the usual arithmetic operations of additions and multiplications. We


shall assume the following fundamental property of N :
Well ordering property of N: Every nonempty subset of N has a least
element.
A more detailed statement of this property is as follows:
If S is a subset of N and S 6= , then there exists m S such that m k
for all k S.
On the basis of the well ordering property, we shall derive a version of the
principle of mathematical induction that is expressed in terms of subsets of
N.
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Principle of Mathematical Induciton
Principle of Mathematical Induciton Let S be a subset of N that
possesses the two properties:
a) The number 1 S
b) For every k N, if k S, then k + 1 S
Then we have S = N
Proof: Assume to the contrary that S 6= N. Then the set NnS is not
empty. So by the well ordering principle it has a least element m. Since
1 S by hypothesis a), we know that m > 1. But this implies that m 1
is also a natural number. Since m 1 < m and since m is the least
element in N such that m / S , we conclude that m 1 S.
We now apply hypothesis b) to the element k = m 1 in S to infer
that k + 1 = (m 1) + 1 = m belongs to S. But this statement
contradicts the fact that m
/ S. Since m was obtained from the
assumption that N\S is not empty, we have obtained a contradiction.
Therefore, we must have S = N.
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The Principles of Mathematical induction can be formulated as follows:
For each n N, let P(n) be a statement about n. Suppose that:
1. P(1) is true
2. For every k N, if P(k) is true, then P(k + 1) is true.
Then P(n) is true for all n N.

Another version

Let n0 N and let P(n) be a statement for each natural number n n0 .


Suppose that:
1. The statement P(n0 ) is true
2. For all k n0 , the truth of P(k) implies that truth of P(k + 1)
Then P(n) is true for all n n0 .

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Examples
1. For each n N, then sum of the first n natural numbers is given by
1 + 2 + ...... + N = 12 n(n + 1)
To prove this formula we let S be the set of all n N for which the
formula is true.
If n = 1, then we have
1 = 12 .1(1 + 1) so that 1 S and a) is satisfied.
Next we assume that k S and 1 + 2 + ...... + k = 12 k(k + 1)
If we add k + 1 to both sides, we get
1
1 + 2 + + k + (k + 1) = k(k + 1) + (k + 1)
2
1
= (k + 1)(k + 2)
2

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Since this is the stated formula for n = k + 1, we conclude that
k + 1+ S. Therefore, condition b) is satisfied. Consequently, by the
principle of mathematical induction, we infer that S = N and so the
formula holds for all n N.
2. For each n N, the sum of the squares of first n natural numbers is
given by
1
12 + 22 + .... + n2 = n(n + 1)(2n + 1)
6
To establish this formula, we note that it is true for n = 1, since
12 = 16 .1.2.3. If we assume it is true for k, then adding (k + 1)2 to both
sides gives
1
12 + 22 + .... + k 2 + (k + 1)2 = k(k + 1)(k + 2) + (k + 1)2
6
1
= (k + 1)(2k 2 + k + 6k + 6)
6
1
= (k + 1)(k + 2)(2k + 3)
6
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Consequently, the formula is valid for all n N.

3. Given two real numbers a and b, we shall prove that a b is a factor of


an b n for all n N
First we see that the statement is true for n = 1. If we assume that a b
is a factor of ak b k , then

ak+1 b k+1 = ak+1 ab k + ab k b k+1


= a(ak b k ) + b k (a b)

By the induction hypothesis, a b is a factor of a (ak b k ) and is also a


factor of b k (a b). Therefore, a b is a factor of ak+1 b k+1 and it
follows from mathematical induction that a b is a factor of an b n for
all n N
Note: Several results can be derived from this fact. For example, since
11 7 = 4, we see that 11n 7n is divisible by 4 for all n N.

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4. The inequality 2n > 2n + 1 is false for n = 1, 2, but is true for n = 3. If
we assume that

2k > 2k + 1

Then multiplication by 2 gives, when 2k + 2 > 3, the inequality

2k+1 > 2.(2k + 1) = 4k + 2 = 2k + (2k + 2)


> 2k + 3 = 2(k + 1) + 1

Since 2k + 2 > 3 for all k 1, the bridge is valid for all k 1. Hence with
the base n0 = 3, we can apply the principle to conclude that the inequality
holds for all n 3.

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5. The inequality 2n (n + 1)! We first observe that it is true for n = 1,
since 21 = 2 = 1 + 1
If we assume that 2k (k + 1)! it follows from the fact that 2 k + 2,

2k+1 = 2.2k 2(k + 1)! (k + 2)(k + 1)! = (k + 2)!

Thus if the inequality holds for k, then it also holds for k + 1. Thus by
mathematical induction, the inequality holds for all n N.

6. If r R, r 6= 1, and n N, then

1 r n+1
1 + r + r2 + + rn =
1r
This is a formula for the sum of the terms in a geometric progression

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For n = 1, we have

1 r2
1+r = = 1 + r , so true for n = 1
1r

Assume it to be true for n = k and add the term r k+1 on both sides, we
get

1 r k+1
1 + r + r 2 + + r k + r k+1 = + r k+1
1r
1 r k+2
=
1r
which is the formula for n = k + 1. Therefore, by mathematical induction
the formula is valid for all n N.

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Absolute Value
Definiton: The absolute value of a real number a, denoted by |a|, is
defined by

a
if a > 0
|a|= 0 if a = 0

a if a < 0

For example |5|= 5 and |8| = 8. We see from the definition that |a| 0
for all a R and that |a|= 0 if and only if a = 0. Also |a|= |a| for all
a R. Some additional properties are as follows:

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Theorem
a) |ab|= |a||b| for all a, b R
b) |a|2 = a2 for all a R
c) If c 0, then |a| c, if and only if c a c
d) |a| a |a| for all a R

Proof: a) If either a or b is 0, then both sides are equal to 0, There are


four other cases to consider.
If a > 0, b > 0, then ab > 0, so that
|ab|= ab = |a||b|
If a > 0, b < 0 , then ab < 0, so that
|ab|= ab = a(b) = |a||b|

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The remaining cases are treated similarly.
b) Since a2 0, we have a2 = |a2 |= |aa|= |a||a|= |a|2
c) If |a| c, then we have both a c and a c which is equivalent to
c a c
Conversely, if c a c, then we have both a c and a c, so that
|a| c
d) Take c = |a| in part c) gives the result

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Triangle Inequality

Triangle Inequality If a, b R, then |a + b| |a|+|b|


Proof: From the d) part of the above theorem, we have

|a| a |a| and


|b| b |b|

Adding these inequalities, we obtain

(|a|+|b|) a + b |a|+|b|

Hence, by part c) of the above theorem, we have

|a + b| |a|+|b|

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Corollary: It can be shown that equality occurs in the triangle inequality if
and only if ab > 0, which is equivalent to saying that a and b have the
same sign.
We give here two useful variation of the triangle inequality.
Corollary: If a, b R, then
a) ||a||b|| |a b|
b) |a b| |a|+|b|

Proof:a) we write a = a b + b and then apply the triangle inequality to


get
|a|= |(a b) + b| |a b|+|b|
Now subtract |b| to get

|a||b| |a b| ....(i)
Similarly, from
|b| = |b a + a| |b a|+|a|
or |a b| = |b a| |a||b| ...(ii)
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Combining (i) and (ii) we get the required result
b) Replace b in the triangle inequality by b to get
|a b| |a|+|b|
and since |b|= |b|, we obtain the result.

Example 1: Determine the set A of x R such that |2x + 3|< 7 i.e.,


7 < 2x + 3 < 7
= 10 < 2x < 4
Therefore, we have A = {x R : 5 < x < 2}

Example 2: Determine the set B = {x R = |x 1|< |x|}


First we consider the cases when absolute value symbol can be removed.
In this case,
i)x 1 ii) 0 x 1 iii) x < 0

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In case i) we have x 1 < x, which puts no restrictions. Therefore, all x
such that x 1 belongs to the set B. In case ii) , the inequality becomes
(x 1) < x; x which gives x > 12 . Thus this case gives the
B = {x : 21 < x < 1}
In case (ii) we get
(x 1) < x
= 1 < 0 which is false. Therefore, forming the union of the three cases,
we conclude that B = {x R : x > 12 }.

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Alternative: We know that
a < b if and only if a2 < b 2 , when both a 0 and b 0. Thus, the given
inequality is equivalent to

|x 1|2 < |x|2


i.e (x 1)2 < x 2
or x 2 2x + 1 < x 2
= x > 1/2

Therefore, we find that B = {x R : x > 21 }

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Corollary 1: If t > 0, there exists nt N such that 0 < n1t < t
Proof:Since inf{ n1 : n N} = 0 and t > 0, then t is not lower bound for
the set { n1 : n N}. Thus there exists nt N such that 0 < n1t < t.

Corollary 2: If y > 0, there exists ny N such that ny 1 y < ny


Proof: The Archimedean property ensures that the subset
Ey = {m N : y < m} of N is not empty. By the well ordering property,
Ey has a least element, which we denote by ny . Then ny 1 does not
belong to Ey , and hence we have ny 1 y < ny .

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Density of Rational Numbers in R

The set of rational numbers is dense in R in the sense that given any
two real numbers, there is rational number between them ( in fact there
are infinitely many such rational numbers).
Theorem
The Density Theorem: If x and y are any real numbers with x < y , then
there exists a rational number r Q such that x < r < y

Proof: Without loss of generality, we assume that x > 0. Since y x > 0,


it follows from Corollary 1 that there exists n N such that 1/n < y x.
Therefore, we have nx + 1 < ny . If we apply Corollary 2 to nx > 0, we
obtain m N with m 1 nx < m. Therefore, m nx + 1 < ny ,
whence nx < m < ny .
Thus the rational number r = m/n satisfies x < r < y .

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Corollary 3. If x and y are real numbers with x < y , then there exists an
irrational number z such that x < z < y

We apply the density theorem to the real numbers x/ 2 and
Proof:
a rational number r 6= 0 such that
y /2 , we obtain
x/ 2 < r <y / 2
Then z = r 2 is irrational and satisfies x < z < y

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To prove that 2 is irrational, we consider a unit square. Then by the
Pythagorus
Theorem, the length l of the diagonal must satisfy l 2 = 2 (or
l = 2)
What is l? Suppose l = m/n4 , where m and n are integers, which are not
both even. Then
l 2 n2 = 2n2 = m2
Thus, m2 is even. Since the square of an odd integer is odd, we conclude
that m is even, so that n2 is even. Hence, nis divisible by 2. This
contradicts our assumption and shows that 2 is not a rational number.

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