Instructor: Dr. Lajos SOUKUP
Website of the course: http://www.renyi.hu/~soukup/set_16f.php

Text: The course is based on printed handouts
Prerequisite: Some familiarity with "higher" mathematics. No specific knowledge is expected.

Course description
This course is designed as an introduction to basic set theoretic notions and methods.

• we learn how to use set theory as a powerful tool in algebra, analysis, combinatorics, and even in geometry;
• we study how to build up a rich mathematical theory from simple axioms;
• we get an insight how set theory can serve as the foundation of mathematics.

Topics:

• Classical set theory: "By a set we are to understand any collection onto a whole of definite and separate objects of out intuition or our thought." (Cantor)

Basic principles:
1. Extensionality : Two sets are equal if and only if they have the same elements.
2. General principle of comprehension of Frege : If $$P(x)$$ is a property, then there is a set $$Y=\{x:P(x)\}$$ of all elements having property P.
• Countable and uncountable sets. A sample problem: any family of disjoint letters T on the plain is countable.
• Inductive constructions. A sample problem: "A flea is moving on the integer points of the real line by making identical jumps every seconds. You can check one integer every seconds. Catch the flea!"
• Ramsey Theory. How to prove the finite Ramsey theorem from the infinite one? Konig lemma: an infinite, locally finite tree should contain infinite paths. Applications: a countable graph is n-colorable if and only if its every finite subgraph is n-colorable.
• Cardinalities. Comparing the sizes of infinite sets. Cardinalities. Basic operation on cardinalities. Elementary properties of cardinal numbers. Cantor-Bernstein 'Sandwich' Theorem and its consequences, $$|A| < |P(A)|$$.
• More on cardinal numbers: Calculations with cardinals, $$2^{\aleph_0}= \mathfrak c$$ (the cardinality of the real line), there are $$\mathfrak c$$ many continuous functions. Infinite operations on cardinals: $$1\cdot 2 \cdot 3 \cdots = \mathfrak c$$. Konig's Inequality.
• The crucial notion of "well-ordering", ordinal numbers: Definition, properties, calculations with ordinals.
• The heart of the matter: Zorn lemma and the Well Ordering Theorem of Zermelo: we can enumerate everything, the Theorem of Transfinite Induction and Recursion, the Fundamental Theorem of Cardinal Arithmetic: $$\kappa^2=\kappa$$ for every cardinal $$\kappa$$.
• Applications (as many as time permits):
• Every vector space has a basis; Hamel basis; the additive groups of the reals and of the complex numbers are isomorphic.
• Mazurkiewicz theorem: there is a subset of the plain which intersects every line in exactly two points
• Cauchy's Functional Equation: find non-trivial solutions of the function equations f(x)+f(y)=f(x+y),
• Dehn's Theorem about decompositions of geometric bodies
• the Long Line
• the function f(x)=x is the sum of two periodic functions,
• Sierpinski's Theorem and the Continuum Hypothesis,
• decomposition of $$\mathbb R^3$$ into congruent circles,
• Goodstein's Theorem.
• Russel's Paradox: Does the set of all those sets that do not contain themselves contain itself?
• The solution:
• keep the Extensionality, and
• replace the faulty General Comprehension with some weaker hypotheses, axioms , which are necessary for the proofs of the fundamental results and seemingly free of contradiction. (The majorities of axioms will be special cases of General Comprehension.)
• prove all results from the axioms.
• Axioms of the Zermelo-Fraenkel set theory
• Basic Set Theory from the Axioms: Ordered pairs. Basic operations on sets. Relations and functions. Cartesian product. Partial- and linear-order relations. Natural numbers. Ordinals
• A glimpse of independence proofs: How can you prove that you can not prove something?
• Contemporary Axiomatic Set Theory: extensions of the classical Zermelo-Fraenkel Set Theory with new axioms

BOOKS:
A. Shen, and N. K. Vereshchagin, Basic Set Theory, AMS Student Mathematical Library 17,
P. Halmos: Naive Set Theory
P. Hamburger, A. Hajnal: Set Theory
K. Ciesielski: Set Theory for the Working Mathematician