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1 Joseph Liouville’s construction of a transcendental number Topmatter: Some ideas pulled from exercises 6.6 – 6.8 in Galois Theory (Second Edition) by Ian Stewart, page 69, some from elsewhere. Here, present a (probably modified) version of the work of the French mathematician Liouville that explicitly made a transcendental number, and some work that was done after his of 1844. The number here produced is Liouville’s Constant. The later work of the German mathematician Cantor made no transcendental numbers, but had significant ideas of cardinality. There are countless web references to transcendental numbers, a Wikipedia page. There are biographies of Joseph Liouville, discussions of transcendental numbers, and even a page on the “fifteen most famous transcendental numbers.” But could not find a good construction, though this page has some discussion on a higher level than this one, as does this link. Credit: Slowly typeset by Dean Moore, October – December 2010, Boulder, Colorado, USA, tweaks afterward. Did some notable fixes in September 2016, improving explanations, fixing confusing math and mistakes, plus bad notation, a couple of holes, general nonsense. Also did fixes, June 2017. In March 2009, worked the proof for pure entertainment, later typeset to slowly piece through, to understand the logic, and fill in gaps. Parts are my revenge against math texts, where the passage “Thus it clearly follows …” was found, and hours of work was required to fill in the abyss between “clearly” and “follows.” Why in graduate school at CU – Boulder a mathematician studying analysis bought a book on Galois Theory—which lands in the basket of abstract algebra—is a hidden mystery, though years later worked through it. Fascinating material, Galois Theory. Here, aim at a simplistic explanation with many references (probably too many) that could be understood by an undergrad in math with some understanding of real analysis, number theory, rings and fields, a little set theory. You are expected to have familiarity with elementary algebra as exponents. Some understanding of limits of sequences and infinite sums is a must. Understanding of some mathematical notation is assumed; one reference is here. A few relevant terms: means “For all,” means “There exists,” means “Is an element of,” and Joseph Liouville Basic understanding of limits of sequences is a must, as is some understanding of series. My beatup text
Transcript
Page 1: construction of a transcendental number - Dean Mooredeanlm.com/transcendental/construction_of_a... · 1 Joseph Liouville’s construction of a transcendental number Topmatter: Some

1

Joseph Liouville’s construction of a transcendental number

Topmatter:

Some ideas pulled from exercises 6.6 – 6.8 in Galois Theory (Second Edition) by Ian Stewart, page 69, some from elsewhere.

Here, present a (probably modified) version of the work of the French mathematician Liouville that explicitly made a transcendental number, and some work that was done after his of 1844. The number here produced is Liouville’s Constant. The later work of the German mathematician Cantor made no transcendental numbers, but had significant ideas of cardinality.

There are countless web references to transcendental numbers, a Wikipedia page. There are biographies of Joseph Liouville, discussions of transcendental numbers, and even a page on the “fifteen most famous transcendental numbers.” But could not find a good construction, though this page has some discussion on a higher level than this one, as does this link.

Credit:

Slowly typeset by Dean Moore, October – December 2010, Boulder, Colorado, USA, tweaks afterward. Did some notable fixes in September 2016, improving explanations, fixing confusing math and mistakes, plus bad notation, a couple of holes, general nonsense. Also did fixes, June 2017.

In March 2009, worked the proof for pure entertainment, later typeset to slowly piece through, to understand the logic, and fill in gaps. Parts are my revenge against math texts, where the passage “Thus it clearly follows …” was found, and hours of work was required to fill in the abyss between “clearly” and “follows.” Why in graduate school at CU – Boulder a mathematician studying analysis bought a book on Galois Theory—which lands in the basket of abstract algebra—is a hidden mystery, though years later worked through it. Fascinating material, Galois Theory.

Here, aim at a simplistic explanation with many references (probably too many) that could be understood by an undergrad in math with some understanding of real analysis, number theory, rings and fields, a little set theory. You are expected to have familiarity with elementary algebra as exponents. Some understanding of limits of sequences and infinite sums is a must. Understanding of some mathematical notation is assumed; one reference is here. A few relevant terms:

• ∀ means “For all,” • ∃ means “There exists,” • 𝜖 means “Is an element of,” and

Joseph Liouville

Basicunderstandingoflimitsofsequencesisamust,asissomeunderstandingofseries.

Mybeat‑uptext

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• 0,…𝑛 is a “set notation,” here means “The set of all integers from 0 to𝑛, inclusively.”

• “Pass to a subsequence” means, of say, a sequence like )*+* ,-.

/ to choose a new sequence

by throwing out a subset of )*+* ,-.

/. This is written

)*0+*0 1-.

/

and note, 𝑖1 refers to a subset

of all𝑖, now indexed by𝑗. Notably, when lim,→/

)*+*= )

+, it is also true that lim

1→/

)*0+*0= )

+.

Images tend to be Wikipedia images. If by some weirdness someone finds it useful, great. Send me an e‑mail, dean at deanlm dot com, or if made some typo, flub or poor logic.

Legal information: Creative Commons Attribution‑NonCommercial‑ShareAlike 3.0 License You are free:

to Share – to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work to Remix – to make derivative works

Under the following conditions: Attribution. You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor. Noncommercial. You may not use this work for commercial purposes. Share Alike. If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under a license identical to this one.

For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. Any of these conditions can be waived if you get permission from the copyright holder.

Background:

Rational numbers, the ancient Greeks:

Ancient Greek mathematicians first assumed all numbers rational, i.e., ratios of integers

as)+,with𝑝, 𝑞𝜖ℤ, 𝑞 ≠ 0. Easy examples are

𝑦> = 57 , 𝑦. =

131 = 13, or𝑦E =

32 ∙ 7 ∙ 127 ∙ 785328 ∙ 57

= 3.14159265

The Greeks knew of the square root of two, 2, from obvious considerations from the Pythagorean Theorem (diagram, right: Note 2 is the hypotenuse of the right triangle with both short legs of length 1, as 1M + 1M = 2). Initially, they assumed 2 rational. Eventually, a Greek proved the square root of two was irrational, i.e., cannot be expressed as a fraction of two integers. This has been proved, in many ways.

So for 𝑝, 𝑞𝜖ℤ, 𝑞 ≠ 0 to write 𝑝𝑞 = 2

is impossible. As rational numbers are dense in the real line, one may use rational numbers to get arbitrarily “close” (i.e., limit), but equality cannot happen.

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Notably for the polynomial 𝑓 𝑥 = 𝑥M − 2, the numbers 𝑥M = − 2 and 𝑥E = 2 satisfy𝑓 𝑥M = 𝑓 𝑥E = 0. So ± 2 are the roots of a polynomial in rational (here integer) coefficients.

So we have an simple way to include numbers like 2 in our number system and in terms of simple familiar things: roots of polynomials in integer coefficients, ideas studied since at least the ancient Egyptians and Babylonians.

Algebraic numbers:

Thus algebraic numbers: all numbers—real or complex, but this paper stays in the world of real numbers—that are roots of some polynomial

𝑓 𝑥 = 𝑎,𝑥,T

,->

= 𝑎> + 𝑎.𝑥 + 𝑎M𝑥M +…+𝑎TU.𝑥TU. + 𝑎T𝑥T,

𝑛𝜖ℕ;𝑎,𝜖ℚ, ∀𝑖𝜖 0, … 𝑛

in rational coefficients (equivalently, integer: since 𝑓 𝑥 is set equal zero one may multiply by a least common multiple to make all coefficients integers). That these form an algebraically closed field is proven elsewhere. This result is in various books; some discussion here. As an example, a number as

3 + 7E.Y

..Z

5YM −2

.[ + 1

ZMYE− 1

is algebraic, a root of some integer–coefficient polynomial. From Galois Theory, roots of polynomials of degree five and higher cannot, in general, be expressed as combinations of radicals of integers or rational numbers, as in general, such polynomials are “not solvable.” But Galois Theory gets a bit away from the subject matter of this paper.

Mainly as it’s impossible, no one proved all numbers are algebraic. After Liouville’s work of 1844, in 1874 Georg Cantor proved the algebraic numbers a field of cardinality ℵ0, actually small in a set–theoretic sense, the first infinity. The real

Babylonian mathematics on √𝟐.

The French mathematician Évariste Galois, at roughly the age of 15. He had about five years to live, but before dying solved a problem that had been floating around for hundreds of years. Galois was brilliant, changed mathematics forever, but lived a sad, rather tragic life.

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numbers—or the complexes—are fields of cardinality 2ℵ_. Note2ℵ_ is sometimes equated to ℵ1, but this is set theory and not currently decidable, and gets afield for this paper. Here2ℵ_ means “the second infinity,” which is strictly larger thanℵ>. But cardinality waited for Cantor, whose work postdated Liouville.

The transcendental numbers:

Algebraic numbers led to the idea of the transcendental number: a number—real or complex—that is not the root of any polynomial with rational (equivalent, integer) coefficients or algebraic coefficients—the algebraic numbers are algebraically closed, so algebraic coefficients is the same as to integer coefficients. Algebraically closed fields also get a bit afield, for the paper.

That is to say, a transcendental number equals any number—real or complex—that is not algebraic. It is easy to talk about such an idea, as a theoretical construct.

However, no one explicitly constructed one, though in 1677 the mathematician James Gregory attempted to prove π transcendental (this history here and here). The term transcendental goes back to at least Leibniz in 1673, if more modern formulations appear to trace to Euler in 1748.

Genesis: Transcendental numbers were first proven to exist in 1844 by the French mathematician Joseph Liouville, though he did not then construct an explicit decimal number but a continued fraction. The first decimal proven transcendental was the Liouville constant which Liouville proved transcendental in 1850, not 1844 as stated in some web references. It belongs to a class of numbers, a “Liouville number,” is a bit odd, and never occurs in physics. The first “naturally” occurring transcendental numbers were later proven to be e (Hermite, 1873) and𝜋 (Lindemann, 1882), neither of which are Liouville numbers.

As an aside, when in 1882 the number π was proven transcendental, it proved that by the methods of ancient Greek geometers it is impossible to square the circle. This answered a question had been open for thousands of years.

After Liouville, Cantor discovered no transcendental numbers but showed they had to exist, and his work had significant implications of cardinality: Via his “diagonal argument,” Cantor showed the real numbers comprise a “big” uncountable2ℵ_ set. Cantor also showed the algebraic numbers are a countable set, that is, are of the cardinality called “countable infinity.” As

• the algebraic numbers are countable, and no transcendental number is algebraic, and • the real numbers are uncountable,

Georg Cantor, whose theorems are now at the foundation of mathematics, but who in his life saw his ideas experience ferocious opposition, notably from Leopold Kronecker and Henri Poincaré

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it follows that transcendental numbers must comprise an uncountable set, that is, a “big” set of cardinality 2ℵ0, not a “small” set of cardinalityℵ>. In terms of describing cardinality with different–sized blobs, the following Venn diagram is inaccurate, as the measure of the algebraic numbers equals zero, thus algebraic numbers should be an invisible dot. But it gives some idea:

A foretaste of what is to come:

Let𝑥> be an irrational algebraic number, a root of a polynomial 𝑓(𝑥)𝜖ℤ[𝑥] of degree𝑛. In this foretaste, we fix𝑥>. Liouville took𝑛, and bounds of the derivative of𝑓 “near”𝑥>, and set a “speed limit” on how fast a sequence of rational numbers can limit on an irrational algebraic number. We will set up this speed limit.

Using that speed limit, Liouville then showed only a finite set of rational numbers could beat a stronger speed limit to𝑥>. We will set up this speed limit.

He defined a new irrational number we will define. He set up a sequence of rational numbers limiting to this new irrational number. He then proved an infinite subset of the sequence broke the strong speed limit, when he had proved that only a finite set could break his “speed limit.” So the limit could not be an algebraic number. Hence, the limit number was transcendental.

Construction of a transcendental number:

To do in detail, the construction is long and tedious with a few proofs. First we define a few things.

Definition 1

Let ℤ[𝑥] be polynomials, with all coefficients inℤ. For this entire paper, all polynomials have coefficients inℤ.

Therealnumbers,including

transcendentalnumbers,of

cardinalityℵ.

Thealgebraicnumbers,ofcardinalityℵ>

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Definition 2

Suppose we have an 𝑛ef −degreepolynomial 𝑓(𝑥)𝜖ℤ 𝑥 not identical zero (i.e., 𝑛 ≥ 1). Notably Lemma 7 and all else below depends on the polynomial having coefficients inℤ, equivalent toℚ. We henceforth assume this, so unless so identified, our polynomial is not assumed monic; it may look like𝑓 𝑥 = −3𝑥Z + 19𝑥M −81, not monic like

𝑓 𝑥 = 𝑥Z −193 𝑥M + 27

Our polynomial follows:

𝑓 𝑥 = 𝑎,𝑥,T,-> = 𝑎> + 𝑎.𝑥 + 𝑎M𝑥M +…+𝑎TU.𝑥TU. + 𝑎T𝑥T,

𝑛𝜖ℕ;𝑎,𝜖ℤ, ∀𝑖𝜖 0, … 𝑛 ;𝑎T ≠ 0

Definition 3

Suppose𝑥>𝜖ℝ ∽ ℚ, and we have 𝑓 𝑥> = 0, that is, 𝑥> equals an irrational algebraic number. We fix the number 𝑥> for the remainder of this paper.

Note we keep𝑓 fixed until Definition 17, will be referred to without redefinition.

Note when𝑛 = 1, 𝑥> is rational, the single zero of a polynomial like𝑓 𝑥 = 2𝑥 − 9, and every rational number is of degree 1; see Definition 4 direct below for a definition of “degree” when applied to a number. As𝑥> is irrational,deg 𝑓 𝑥 ≥ 2.

Definition 4

When 𝑥> equals an algebraic number and 𝑓 is the minimal polynomial,—the monic polynomial of rational coefficients, of smallest degree of which𝑥>is a root—𝑛is called the degree of 𝑥>; see also this link for a definition. Polynomials 𝑔(𝑥)of arbitrarily large degree satisfy𝑔 𝑥> = 0, but using a minimal polynomial can give better, larger bounds; see Lemma 7 below. As an

example,2no equals a root of𝑓 𝑥 = 𝑥M − 2, so is “second degree.” But2

np equals a root

of𝑔 𝑥 = 𝑥Z − 2 and no polynomial in rational coefficients of lower degree than 5, so2np is

fifth degree.

Henceforth can simply ignore the word “minimal,” and all in this paper will work.

Graphofthefifth‑orderpolynomial𝒇(𝒙) = 𝒙𝟓 − 𝒙 − 𝟏.Thelonerealrootat𝒙 ≈ 𝟏. 𝟏𝟔𝟕𝟑isarealalgebraic;theotherfourrootsarecomplexalgebraicnumbers.ByGaloisTheory,thispolynomialisnot“solvable”(mentionedhere),sonorootsmaybeobtainedviaalgebraandextractionofrootsonintegers/rationalnumbers.

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Definition 5

Note𝑛 = deg 𝑓 , the degree of 𝑓, will come up again.

Definition 6

In this entire paper,𝑝, 𝑞𝜖ℤ, 𝑞 ≠ 0, so 𝑝 and𝑞 are always integers, and𝑝𝑞 is always rational, as

is)*+*

. In any fraction𝑝𝑞, assume𝑞 ≥ 1, as we can always move a negative sign to𝑝.

Lemma 7.

Let polynomial 𝑓 𝑥 𝜖ℤ[𝑥]of be of degree𝑛. If 𝑝, 𝑞𝜖ℤ, 𝑞 ≠ 0 (assume𝑞 ≥ 1, safe; see

Definition 6) and𝑓 )+≠ 0, it follows that 𝑓 )

+≥ .

+y is always true.

Proof.

As 𝑓 )+≠ 0 assume𝑓 )

+= 𝑐 ≠ 0. Note𝑐 is easily rational as𝑓 is a polynomial

overℤ.So,𝑐𝜖ℚ ∽ {0}. Stating this,

𝑓𝑝𝑞 = 𝑎,

𝑝𝑞

,T

,->

= 𝑐

Taking absolute values of both sides we have:

𝑓𝑝𝑞 = 𝑎,

𝑝𝑞

,T

,->

= 𝑐

Now multiply both sides by 𝑞T, which is positive, so it “filters through” absolute value brackets:

𝑞T 𝑐 = 𝑞T 𝑓𝑝𝑞 =

𝑞T 𝑎,𝑝𝑞

,T

,->

= 𝑎,𝑝, ∙ 𝑞TU,T

,->

or,

𝑞T ∙ 𝑓𝑝𝑞 = 𝑎,𝑝, ∙ 𝑞TU,

T

,->

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Note in bottom right sum that as 𝑛 − 𝑖 ≥ 0 is always true, and𝑛 − 𝑖 always equals an integer. And as𝑎,𝜖ℤ, ∀𝑖, and𝑝, 𝑞𝜖ℤ, all terms of above’s bottom right sum are integers. So𝑞T 𝑐 equals some natural number, is inℕ. In short,𝑞T 𝑐 ≥ 1.

Thus,

𝑞T 𝑓𝑝𝑞 ≥ 1

Dividing by 𝑞T we get 𝑓 )+

≥ .+y

. □

Example 8

As an example of the last, 𝑥 = 2satisfies𝑓 𝑥 = 𝑥M − 2. While 2 = 1.41421… is

irrational, its digits never ending with no known pattern, we can approximate it with )+=

.[.[M..>>>>

= Y∙��∙MMY.>>>>

(coprime form). So𝑞 = 10000. Note

𝑓𝑝𝑞 =

7 ∙ 89 ∙ 22710000

M

− 2 ≅ 1.00759 ∙ 10UZ

Note here 𝑛 = 2 (the degree of𝑓 𝑥 = 𝑥M − 2), and 1𝑞2 =1

100002= 10−10, and as

1.00759 ∙ 10UZ ≥1

10000M = 10U�

that 𝑓 )+

≥ .+y

seems obvious, by about three orders of magnitude.

Calculus Result 9

By the extreme value theorem of calculus, on a bounded interval the derivative����of the

polynomial 𝑓is continuous, thus is bounded. Thus ∃𝑀𝜖ℝ� such that∀𝑦𝜖[𝑥0 − 1, 𝑥0 + 1] we have 𝑓� 𝑦 ≤ 𝑀.

Discussion 10

We will be looking at rational sequences )*+* ,-.

/withlim

,→/

)*+*

= 𝑥>. As the rational numbers are

dense in the real line, such a sequence exists. So after a finite point all terms of such a sequence are in the interval[𝑥> − 1, 𝑥> + 1], and we can use Calculus Result 9.

Comment 11

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Our next proposition will establish our first “speed limit.” Of a rational number)+

, remember that

for all irrational numbers𝑥> that𝑝𝑞 ≠ 𝑥0 is always true.

Convention 12

For 𝑥> an irrational root of the polynomial𝑓 𝑥 𝜖ℤ[𝑥], assume )+𝜖ℚ is “close” to 𝑥>in the

sense of𝑥> − 1 <)+< 𝑥> + 1, and that)

+is closer to 𝑥> than any to other root of𝑓. In a so–so

graph:

In short, we want𝑓 )+≠ 0, why)

+ is closer to𝑥> than to any other root of𝑓 𝑥 .

We further comment, if𝑓 𝑥 is a minimal polynomial—see Proposition 13 direct below—this convention is not needed. This is as a rational)

+ can’t be a factor of a minimal𝑓 𝑥 which has an

irrational algebraic root𝑥>, as if)+

is a root of𝑝 𝑥 = 𝑎> + 𝑎.𝑥 +⋯𝑎T>.𝑥TU. + 𝑎T𝑥T, we can

factor, and for𝑟 𝑥 , a degree𝑛 − 1 polynomial, we could get𝑝 𝑥 = 𝑟(𝑥) ∙ (𝑞𝑥 − 𝑝), and for𝑥> we would have a new minimal polynomial𝑞 𝑥 , of lower degree; see Definition 4.

Proposition 13.

Using Calculus Result 9, we maintain that for any rational number𝑝𝑞 which by Convention 12 is “near” our earlier–defined irrational𝑥0, a root of the 𝑛ef–degree minimal polynomial 𝑓(𝑥)𝜖ℤ[𝑥], that there exists an𝑀𝜖ℝ�such that

𝑝𝑞 − 𝑥> ≥

1𝑀 ∙ 𝑞T

Proof.

In this proof it should be clear why having𝑓(𝑥) be a minimal polynomial (see Definition 4)

of𝑥> works best, as the exponent𝑛 on .+y

is smallest, and 1𝑀∙𝑞𝑛 will be largest. All this may work,

𝑝𝑞

𝑥>

𝑓(𝑥) 𝑥> + 1

𝑥> − 1

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for a 100th–order polynomial, but if we use the minimal polynomial which is, say, 5th–order, we will get the largest bound.

We also point out,𝑓�(𝑥>) ≠ 0: If𝑓� 𝑥> = 0, that means𝑥> is at least a double root of𝑓(𝑥), which for a minimal polynomial doesn’t make sense: Could differentiate𝑓(𝑥), and have a polynomial of one less degree of which𝑥> equals a root. So𝑀 ≥ 𝑓� 𝑥> > 0. In short, there is no “limiting out” of this proposition’s conclusion.

To work: Let𝑓(𝑥) be the minimal polynomial of𝑥>. Further let𝑀 > 0 be as in Calculus Result 9, that is, such that ∀𝑦𝜖[𝑥> − 1, 𝑥> + 1] we have 𝑓� 𝑦 ≤ 𝑀.

Note 𝑥> is irrational, so)+≠ 𝑥> must be true. By Convention 6,)

+ is nearer to𝑥> than to any other

root of𝑓, so𝑓 )+= 0 is impossible. That𝑓 )

+≠ 0 will be of some importance.

By the Mean Value Theorem, between )+

and𝑥> the derivative𝑓′ of𝑓 assumes a “mean value,”

that is, ∃𝑐𝜖 min )+, 𝑥> ,max )

+, 𝑥> such that

𝑓 𝑝𝑞 − 𝑓(𝑥>)𝑝𝑞 − 𝑥>

= 𝑓′(𝑐)

As𝑓 𝑥> = 0, we may restate the left side,

𝑓 𝑝𝑞 − 𝑓 𝑥>𝑝𝑞 − 𝑥>

=𝑓 𝑝𝑞 − 0𝑝𝑞 − 𝑥>

Simplifying, and equating to the right side:

𝑓 𝑝𝑞

𝑝𝑞 − 𝑥>

= 𝑓� 𝑐

Taking absolute values, from our chosen value of𝑀 in Calculus Result 9 this gives

𝑓 𝑝𝑞

𝑝𝑞 − 𝑥>

= 𝑓′(𝑐) ≤ 𝑀

But from Proposition 13 we know that

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𝑓𝑝𝑞 ≥

1𝑞T.

Aside: The last is where𝑓 )+≠ 0 matters, a hypothesis of Proposition 13, and why we choose)

+

closer to𝑥> than to any other root of𝑓, as this renders𝑓 )+= 0 impossible. All that truly

matters is that𝑓 )+≠ 0. It is also key that𝑓 𝑥> = 0, a hypothesis of this proposition.

Joining 𝑓 )+

≥ .+y

with𝑀 ≥ 𝑓′(𝑐) , and doing a little algebra

𝑀 ≥ 𝑓� 𝑐 =𝑓 𝑝𝑞

𝑝𝑞 − 𝑥>

= 𝑓𝑝𝑞 ∙

1𝑝𝑞 − 𝑥>

≥1𝑞T ∙

1𝑝𝑞 − 𝑥>

Re‑stating the top left and bottom right terms:

𝑀 ≥1𝑞T ∙

1𝑝𝑞 − 𝑥>

We divide by𝑀 and multiply by𝑝𝑞 − 𝑥0 to derive

𝑝𝑞 − 𝑥> ≥

1𝑀𝑞T

This verifies our inequality, and establishes our first “speed limit.” □

Discussion 14

We will be looking at rational sequences )*+* ,-.

/with lim

,→/

)*+*= 𝑥1; we will later define𝑥..

For an irrational algebraic𝑥> for some “large”𝑖 = 𝑖> we have

• The sequence )*+* ,-,_

/𝜖 𝑥> − 1, 𝑥> + 1 , ∀𝑖 ≥ 𝑖>, and

• some positive number𝑀 will be a bound of ����

on[𝑥> − 1, 𝑥> + 1], and

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• Convention 12 will be true∀𝑖 ≥ 𝑖>, so • Proposition 13 will be true,∀𝑖 ≥ 𝑖>.

Proposition 13 showed )+− 𝑥> has to be bigger than something. The next proposition shows that

for only a finite set of rational numbers can )+− 𝑥> be smaller than a stronger bound, and

matters in Theorem 18 that proves the existence of a transcendental number.

We note the Thue–Siegel–Roth theorem has stronger bounds than the next. Its proof is not easy, and led to a Fields Medal. What is relevant is that𝑘 > 𝑛 = deg(𝑓).

Proposition 15.

Let𝑓𝜖ℤ[𝑥] be the minimal polynomial of an irrational root 𝑥>. Fix a real 𝐾 > 0. Fix a natural number𝑘 such that

𝑘 > 𝑛 = 𝑑𝑒𝑔(𝑓) Let 𝑝𝑖𝑞𝑖 𝑖=1

∞ be an infinite set of unique rational numbers, that is, whenever𝑖 ≠ 𝑗, we have

𝑝,𝑞,≠𝑝1𝑞1

For some index set𝐼 there exists an at most finite set 𝑆 of unique rational numbers,

𝑆 = 𝑝,𝑞,

𝑖𝜖𝐼; 𝑝,, 𝑞,𝜖ℤ, 𝑞, ≠ 0

such that

𝑝,𝑞,− 𝑥> <

𝐾𝑞,�

That is, the index set 𝐼 is finite, hence 𝑆 is a finite set. We assume{𝑞𝑖 ≥ 1, ∀𝑖𝜖𝐼}; see Definition 6.

Proof.

We do a proof by contradiction. Assume for an infinite index set (as the rational numbers form an ℵ0 set, we choose𝐼 = ℕ) there exists a set

𝑆 = 𝑝,𝑞, 𝑖𝜖ℕ;𝑝,, 𝜖ℤ, 𝑞,𝜖ℕ, ∀𝑖

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with each)*+*unique within the index setℕ, such that for all 𝑖𝜖ℕ and for our fixed 𝐾 > 0 and

𝑘 > 𝑛 that we have

𝑝,𝑞,− 𝑥> <

𝐾𝑞,�

By )*+*− 𝑥> < �

+*� we know that lim

,→/

)*+*= 𝑥>. Pass to a subsequence

)*0+*0 1-.

/

and assume

𝑝,0𝑞,0 1-.

/

𝜖(𝑥> − 1, 𝑥> + 1), ∀𝑗

and that each)*0+*0

is closer to𝑥> than to any other root of𝑓(𝑥). So Proposition 13 holds.

Now we show 𝑞,0 𝑗𝜖ℕ is an unbounded set.

If the denominators 𝑞,0 𝑗𝜖ℕ are restricted to a bounded set (i.e., live within a finite interval, so

there can only be a finite number of 𝑞,0) we get a contradiction: as the set𝑆 is infinite and

each𝑝𝑖𝑗𝑞𝑖𝑗

is unique within the set𝑆, we have lim1→/

𝑝,0 = ∞ forced. As the𝑞,0live in a bounded

interval and lim1→/

𝑝,0 = ∞, after some finite point the inequality

𝑝𝑖𝑗𝑞𝑖𝑗− 𝑥> <

𝐾

𝑞,0�

must be proven false: as lim1→/

𝑝,0 = ∞, the term)*0+*0− 𝑥> → ∞, but𝐾 < ∞ and𝑞𝑖𝑗 ≥ 1, so

+*0� is bounded, by𝐾 at most.

Thus lim1→/

𝑞,0 = ∞ is forced. And, an important inequality: by passing to a subsequence, we

assume that for all𝑖1 that

𝑝𝑖𝑗𝑞𝑖𝑗− 𝑥> ≥

𝐾

𝑞,0�

is true, for all𝑖1.

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As𝑘 > 𝑛, we have𝑘 − 𝑛 ≥ 1. Now apply Proposition 13: On the interval[𝑥> − 1, 𝑥> + 1] by

some 𝑀 > 0 bound the absolute value of the derivative ����

of𝑓. As𝑥> is irrational, note the

polynomial𝑓is of degree at least 2; see Definition 3, so𝑀 is non‑zero.

Now we derive our contradiction. Where𝑀 equals a bound of ����

in the range[𝑥> − 1, 𝑥> + 1], and remembering𝑥> is an irrational root of our degree𝑛 polynomial𝑓 𝑥 𝜖ℤ 𝑥 , and applying Proposition 13 we get:

𝐾

𝑞,0� >

𝑝,0𝑞,0

− 𝑥> ≥ 1

𝑀 ∙ 𝑞,0T > 0

Tossing the middle, and reversing the inequality,

1

𝑀 ∙ 𝑞,0T <

𝐾

𝑞,0�

Doing algebra, the following is always true:

𝑞,0�UT

< 𝑀 ∙ 𝐾

But as lim1→/

𝑞,0 = ∞, and𝑘 − 𝑛 ≥ 1, for all but an at most finite set of𝑗 we have forced

𝑞,0�UT > 𝑀 ∙ 𝐾

violating the inequality 𝑞,0�UT

< 𝑀 ∙ 𝐾. Thus our initial assumption was wrong, and any set

as in the proposition’s statement is necessarily finite – this will be key to proving a number transcendental.

This verifies the proposition, and is our second “speed limit.” □

Discussion 16

Putting together Proposition 13 and 15 with𝐾 = 1, let𝑥> be an irrational algebraic number, and assume𝑓(𝑥) the minimal polynomial of𝑥0, as the minimal polynomial gives the largest bound. Let𝑛 = deg 𝑓 . Fix𝑘 = 𝑛 + 1, and𝑀 a bound as in Calculus Result 4.

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In the next equation, for any sequence of unique rational numbers )*+* ,-.

/with lim

,→/

)*+*= 𝑥>,

whenever)*+*

is “close” to𝑥> (i.e., after some finite point), for a bound𝑀 > 0 on the absolute

value of the derivative of𝑓 𝑥 on[𝑥> − 1, 𝑥> + 1] we have

.�∙+*

y ≤ )*+*− 𝑥> (always true)

For the next we have a best a finite set of𝑞,:

)*+*− 𝑥> < .

+*� (a finite set of)*

+*)

Summarize: ignoring finite sets, in general for any rational sequence of unique rational

numbers )*+* ,-.

/with lim

,→/

)*+*= 𝑥>, whenever)*

+* is “close” to𝑥> (i.e., after some finite point𝑖>, for

all𝑖 ≥ 𝑖>), for the above bound𝑀 > 0 and𝑘 > 𝑛 we have two “speed limits,”

)*+*− 𝑥> ≥ .

�∙+*y (always true)

and,

)*+*− 𝑥> < �

+*�—only true for a finite subset of

𝑝𝑖𝑞𝑖 𝑖=1

∞,

so we can pass to a subsequence)*0+*0 1-.

/

to make it never true

The second of these facts is extremely important in Theorem 18, where we prove a number transcendental.

Now we create a transcendental number, i.e., a number𝑥. such that 𝑥. is not the root of any polynomial with𝑓(𝑥)𝜖ℤ[𝑥].

Definition 17

We define a new number 𝑥. in a special way. For now assume it an algebraic number, that is, the root of a minimal polynomial𝑓 𝑥 𝜖ℤ 𝑥 of some degree𝑛, and, the number𝑛 will play a role. Let

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16

𝑥. = 10U�!/

�-.

In the exponential we use factorial function, as in5! = 5 ∙ 4 ∙ 3 ∙ 2 ∙ 1 = 120.

Apply a standard calculus test, the ratio test:

In a “generic” series 𝑎�/�-. , we have𝑎� = 10U�!. Apply the ratio test:

𝑎��.𝑎�

=10U(��.)!

10U�! =

10�!

10 ��. ! =10�!

10 ��. ∙�! =

10�!

10�! ��.

It is easy that this converges to zero as𝑚 → ∞, so the conditions of the root test are satisfied. We have𝑥1 = 10−𝑚!∞

𝑚=1 is an absolutely convergent series, so, is convergent.

The number𝑥1 is easily an infinite sum of rational numbers, and at each point𝑖 we define a term

of an infinite sequence of rational numbers )*+* ,-.

/ as

𝑝,𝑞,= 10U�!

,

�-.

=110.! +

110M! +

110E! + ⋯+

110 ,U. ! +

110,!

Algebra, to get a common denominator:

𝑝,𝑞,= 10,!U.! + 10,!UM! + 10,!UE! …+ 10,!U ,U. ! + 10,!U,!

10,

So as formulas,𝑞, =..>*!

, and𝑝, = 10,!U�!,�-. . So,

𝑝,𝑞,=10,! + 10,!U.! + 10,!UM! + ⋯10,!U ,U. ! + 1

10,! =10,!U�!,

�-.

10,!

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17

and this converges to𝑥., so we have lim,→/

)*+*= 𝑥..

We need to verify that Proposition 15 holds. It is easy to assign the denominator at each finite point𝑖 as𝑞, = 10,!. And, it is easy that each𝑞, is unique. If𝑖 ≠ 𝑗, note that

𝑝, = 10,! + 10,!U.! + 10,!UM! + ⋯+ 1

and

𝑝1 = 101! + 101!U.! + 101!UM! + ⋯+ 1

satisfy𝑝, − 𝑝1 = 10,!U�!,�-. − 101!U�!1

�-. , which as𝑖 ≠ 𝑗 is non‑zero—if𝑖 > 𝑗, it possesses10,!U.! which cannot cancel, and𝑝, and𝑝1 are consequently different numbers. Also, for any𝑚, note𝑝� always has a final digit of 1, so in)�

+� no canceling is possible, as𝑞� equals a

power of 10.

So, )*+* ,-.

/is a set of unique rational numbers, and Proposition 15 holds, that is, for any

fixed𝑘 > 𝑛 and any fixed𝐾𝜖ℕ, there exists an at most finite set𝑆, indexed by some finite set𝑀 = {1, 2, 3…𝑚},

𝑆 = 𝑝,𝑞,

𝑖𝜖𝑀; 𝑝,, 𝑞,𝜖ℤ, 𝑞, ≠ 0

such that

𝑝,𝑞,− 𝑥. <

𝐾𝑞,�

Note 𝑥. is called the Liouville Constant, and 𝑥. = 0.110001000000000000000001000… with the 1’s getting progressively farther and farther apart. As digits of𝑥. never repeat, it is easily irrational. This meansdeg 𝑓 𝑥 ≥ 2; see Definition 3.

Now we have some tools, our “big” theorem follows, and is to what we have been building up.

Theorem 18.

There does not exist a polynomial 𝑓 𝑥 𝜖ℤ 𝑥 of which𝑥. is a root.

Proof.

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18

Assume the contrary, i.e., that the number𝑥. equals a root of some minimal polynomial𝑓 𝑥 𝜖ℤ 𝑥 , and 𝑓 𝑥 is of some (possibly re‑defined) degree𝑛𝜖ℕ; the degree𝑛 matters, and we will refer to it. The proof assumes𝑛 a known number, but this proof works, for any finite𝑛𝜖ℕ. Remember, as𝑥. is irrational,𝑛 must be at least 2; see Definition 3.

From Definition 17 we have a sequence of unique rational

numbers )*+* ,-.

/ with lim

𝑖→∞𝑝𝑖𝑞𝑖= 𝑥1.

Remember, the denominator at each finite point𝑖 is𝑞, = 10,!.

First we draw a bound. Fix𝑘 = 𝑛 + 1.

Go back to our definition of𝑥.. The next line requires small re‑ordering, but that’s easy, inside absolute value brackets. Note that at any finite point𝑖 that

𝑝,𝑞,− 𝑥. = 10U�!

,

�-.

− 10U�!/

�-.

=

10U�!/

�-,�.

=1

10 ,�. ! +1

10 ,�M ! + ⋯

Or, simpler,

)*+*− 𝑥. = .

.> *�n ! +.

.> *�o ! + ⋯ (Equation 1)

Now draw bounds: First let𝑖 = 𝑘 + 1 = 𝑛 + 2. As in Definition 17 we pointed out that the degree of𝑓(𝑥) equals at least 2, we must have𝑖 ≥ 4; see Definition 3; this will be mentioned, later. Thus as𝑘 = 𝑖 − 1

𝑖 + 1 ∙ 𝑖! = 𝑖 + 1 ! >

𝑖 − 1 ∙ 𝑖! = 𝑘 ∙ 𝑖!

In short, 𝑖 + 1 ! > 𝑘 ∙ 𝑖!, and just as3 > 2 leads to.E< .

M, we derive

Thegeometricconstantπistranscendental,butthiswasprovenin1882,overthirtyyearsafterLiouville’sproof.Thismeantsquaringthecircleisimpossible,solvingaproblemthathadbeenopenforthousandsofyears.

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1

10 𝑖+1 ! <1

10𝑘∙𝑖!

So, referring back to Equation (1) above, and adding some parentheses,

)*+*− 𝑥. < .

.>�∙*!+ .

.> *�o ! +.

.> *�  ! + ⋯ (Equation 2)

For our fixed𝑖 and𝑘, for some𝐾 we may easily write the right side as

�.>�∙*!

= ..>�∙*!

+ ..> *�o ! +

..> *�  ! + ⋯ (Equation 3)

Finding𝐾 is solving �¡= .

¡+ 𝑏 for 𝐾, and

𝐾 = 10�∙,! ∙1

10𝑘∙𝑖!+

110 ,�M ! +

110 ,�E ! + ⋯

Or,

𝐾 = 1 + ..> *�o !£�∙*! +

..> *�  !£�∙*! + ⋯ (Equation 4)

On last, note that for𝑗 ≥ 2, the number10 ,�1 !U�∙,! is a positive power of ten: As we have here fixed𝑖 = 𝑛 + 2, and as𝑛 ≥ 2, we have𝑖 ≥ 4; see Definition 3. As

• 𝑖 + 2 = 𝑛 + 4, and • 𝑖 + 2 > 𝑘 = 𝑛 + 1

we have 𝑖 + 𝑗 ! − 𝑘 ∙ 𝑖! is an increasingly “large” exponent, and the right‑side terms of Equation 4 get small, extremely fast. As an example, if𝑛 = 2, we have𝑖 = 4, 𝑘 = 3, and set out a few exponents𝑚 on .

.>�:

1. 𝑖 = 4 𝑖 + 2 ! − 𝑘 ∙ 𝑖! = 6! − 3 ∙ 4! = 720 − 72 = 648 2. 𝑖 = 5 𝑖 + 2 ! − 𝑘 ∙ 𝑖! = 7! − 3 ∙ 5! = 5040 − 360 = 4680 3. 𝑖 = 6 𝑖 + 2 ! − 𝑘 ∙ 𝑖! = 8! − 3 ∙ 6! = 40320 − 2160 = 38160

Also note𝑛 is known, so𝑖 = 𝑘 + 1 = 𝑛 + 2 are known, and𝐾 equals a value that can be determined. As the inequality is strict, it is easy to be a bit sloppy.

For𝑖 = 𝑘 + 2 and larger values of𝑖, the term

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110 ,�E !U𝑘∙𝑖! +

110 ,�[ !U𝑘∙𝑖! + ⋯

only gets smaller. So in the bound, the same value of𝐾 will work, regardless of how big𝑖 is.

So combining Equations 2 and 3, we draw an important bound, for all𝑖 ≥ 𝑘 + 1:

𝑝,𝑞,− 𝑥. = 10UT!

/

�-,�.

<𝐾

10�∙,!

Or, simpler,

𝑝,𝑞,− 𝑥. <

𝐾10�∙,!

Note )*+* ,-�

/is an infinite sequence of unique rational numbers, and remember,𝑞, =

..>*!

, ∀𝑖.

For each𝑖 > 𝑘 > 𝑛: 𝑝,𝑞,− 𝑥. <

𝐾10�∙,! =

𝐾10,! � =

𝐾𝑞,�

In short,

𝑝,𝑞,− 𝑥. <

𝐾𝑞,�, ∀𝑖 > 𝑘

But this is true for all 𝑖 > 𝑘 = 𝑛 + 1, and )*+* ,-��.

/ is an infinite set, a direct contradiction to

Proposition 15 and impossible if𝑥. is an algebraic number. Thus𝑥. is not an algebraic number.□

Final conclusion 13

By Theorem 12 the number𝑥1 = 10−𝑛!∞𝑛=1 cannot be the root of any polynomial with

coefficients in ℤ (equivalent,ℚ), hence𝑥. is not an algebraic number. That is to say, 𝑥. equals a transcendental number. □

Final comment 14

Again, just in the world of real numbers, as Cantor proved

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21

• the algebraic numbers are countable, of cardinalityℵ> and • the reals are uncountable, of cardinality 2ℵ_,

it follows that transcendental numbers must be an uncountable set, that is, of cardinality 2ℵ_. For such a large set, as of June 2017 precious few numbers have been proven transcendental.


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