Last modified on 17 April 2014, at 23:07

# Topology/Connectedness

Topology
 ← Separation Axioms Connectedness Path Connectedness →

## MotivationEdit

To best describe what is a connected space, we shall describe first what is a disconnected space. A disconnected space is a space that can be separated into two disjoint groups, or more formally:

A space $(X,\mathcal{T})$ is said to be disconnected iff a pair of disjoint, non-empty open subsets $X_1, X_2$ exists, such that $X = X_1 \cup X_2$.

A space $X$ that is not disconnected is said to be a connected space.

### ExamplesEdit

1. A closed interval $[a,b]$ is connected. To show this, suppose that it was disconnected. Then there are two nonempty disjoint open sets $A$ and $B$ whose union is $[a,b]$. Let $X$ be the the set equal to $A$ or $B$ and which does not contain $b$. Let $s=\sup X$. Since X does not contain b, s must be within the interval [a,b] and thus must be within either X or $[a,b]\setminus X$. If $s$ is within $X$, then there is an open set $(s-\varepsilon,s+\varepsilon)$ within $X$. If $s$ is not within $X$, then $s$ is within $[a,b]\setminus X$, which is also open, and there is an open set $(s-\varepsilon,s+\varepsilon)$ within $[a,b]\setminus X$. Either case implies that $s$ is not the supremum.
2. The topological space $X = (0,1)\setminus\{{\frac{1}{2} } \}$ is disconnected: $A = (0,\frac{1}{2} ), B = (\frac{1}{2}, 1)$
A picture to illustrate:

As you can see, the definition of a connected space is quite intuitive; when the space cannot be separated into (at least) two distinct subspaces.

## DefinitionsEdit

Definition 1.1

A subset $U$ of a topological space $X$ is said to be clopen if it is both closed and open.

Definition 1.2

A topological space X is said to be totally disconnected if every subset of X having more than one point is disconnected under the subspace topology

## Theorems about connectednessEdit

If $X$ and $Y$ are homeomorphic spaces and if $X$ is connected, then $Y$ is also connected.

Proof:
Let $X$ be connected, and let $f$ be a homeomorphism. Assume, if possible, $f(X)$ is disconnected. Then there exists two nonempty disjoint sets $A$ and $B$ whose union is $f(X)$. As $f^{-1}$ is continuous, $f^{-1}(A)$ and $f^{-1}(B)$ are open. As $f^{-1}$ is a bijection, they are disjoint sets whose union is $X$, contradicting the fact that $X$ is connected. Thus, $Y=f(X)$ is connected.
Note: this shows that connectedness is a topological property.

If two connected sets have a nonempty intersection, then their union is connected.

Proof:
Let $A$ and $B$ be two non-disjoint, connected sets. Let $X$ and $Y$ be non-empty open sets such that $X\cup Y=A\cup B$. Let $a_0\in A$.
Without loss of generality, assume $a_0\in X$.

As $A$ is connected, $a\in X\forall a\in A$ ...(1).

As $Y$ is non-empty, $\exists b\in B$ such that $b\in Y$.

Hence, similarly, $b\in Y\forall b\in B$ ...(2)
Now, consider $c\in A\cap B$. From (1) and (2), $c\in X\cap Y$, and hence $X\cap Y\neq\emptyset$. As $X,Y\in\mathcal{T}$ are arbitrary, $A\cup B$ is connected.

If two topological spaces are connected, then their product space is also connected.

Proof:
Let X1 and X2 be two connected spaces. Suppose that there are two nonempty open disjoint sets A and B whose union is X1×X2. If for every x∈X, {x}×X2 is either completely within A or within B, then π1(A) and π1(B) are also open, and are thus disjoint and nonempty, whose union is X1, contradicting the fact that X1 is connected. Thus, there is an x∈X such that {x}×X2 contains elements of both A and B. Then π2(A∩{(x,y)}) and π2(B∩{(x,y)}), where y is any element of X2, are nonempty disjoint sets whose union is X2, and which are are a union of open sets in {(x,y)} (by the definition of product topology), and are thus open. This implies that X2 is disconnected, a contradiction. Thus, X1×X2 is connected.

## ExercisesEdit

1. Show that a topological space $X$ is disconnected if and only if it has clopen sets other than $\emptyset$ and $X$ (Hint: Why is $X_1$ clopen?)
2. Prove that if $f:X\to Y$ is continuous and surjective (not necessarily homeomorphic), and if $X$ is connected, then $Y$ is connected.
3. Prove the Intermediate Value Theorem: if $f:[a,b]\to \mathbb{R}$ is continuous, then for any $y$ between $f(a)$ and $f(b)$, there exists a $c\in [a,b]$ such that $f(c)=y$.
4. Prove that $\mathbb{R}$ is not homeomorphic to $\mathbb{R}^2$ (hint: removing a single point from $\mathbb{R}$ makes it disconnected).
5. Prove that an uncountable set given the countable complement topology is connected (this space is what mathematicians call 'hyperconnected')
6. a)Prove that the discrete topology on a set X is totally disconnected.

b) Does the converse of a) hold (Hint: Even if the subspace topology on a subset of X is the discrete topology, this need not imply that the set has the discrete topology)

Topology
 ← Separation Axioms Connectedness Path Connectedness →