Painter’s paradox

Can you paint a surface with infinite area with a finite quantity of paint? For sure… let’s do it!

Consider the 3D surface given in cylindrical coordinates as \[
S(\rho,\varphi):\begin{cases}
x &= \rho \cos \varphi\\
y &= \rho \sin \varphi\\
z &= \frac{1}{\rho}\end{cases}\] for \((\rho,\varphi) \in [1,\infty) \times [0, 2 \pi)\). The surface is named Gabriel’s horn.

Volume of Garbiel’s horn

The volume of Gabriel’s horn is \[
V = \pi \int_1^\infty \left( \frac{1}{\rho^2} \right) \ d\rho = \pi\] which is finite.

Area of Garbiel’s horn

The area of Gabriel’s horn for \((\rho,\varphi) \in [1,a) \times [0, 2 \pi)\) with \(a > 1\) is: \[
A = 2 \pi \int_1^a \frac{1}{\rho} \sqrt{1+\left( -\frac{1}{\rho^2} \right)^2} \ d\rho \ge 2 \pi \int_1^a \frac{d \rho}{\rho} = 2 \pi \log a.\] As the right hand side of inequality above diverges to \(\infty\) as \(a \to \infty\), we can conclude that the area of Gabriel’s horn is infinite.

Conclusion

Gabriel’s horn could be filled with a finite quantity of paint… therefore painting a surface with infinite area. Unfortunately the thickness of the paint coat is converging to \(0\) as \(z\) goes to \(\infty\), leading to a paint which won’t be too visible!

A normal subgroup that is not a characteristic

Let’s \(G\) be a group. A characteristic subgroup is a subgroup \(H \subseteq G\) that is mapped to itself by every automorphism of \(G\).

An inner automorphism is an automorphism \(\varphi \in \mathrm{Aut}(G)\) defined by a formula \(\varphi : x \mapsto a^{-1}xa\) where \(a\) is an element of \(G\). An automorphism of a group which is not inner is called an outer automorphism. And a subgroup \(H \subseteq G\) that is mapped to itself by every inner automorphism of \(G\) is called a normal subgroup.

Obviously a characteristic subgroup is a normal subgroup. The converse is not true as we’ll see below.

Example of a direct product

Let \(K\) be a nontrivial group. Then consider the group \(G = K \times K\). The subgroups \(K_1=\{e\} \times K\) and \(K_2=K \times \{e\} \) are both normal in \(G\) as for \((e, k) \in K_1\) and \((a,b) \in G\) we have
\[(a,b)^{-1} (e,x) (a,b) = (a^{-1},b^{-1}) (e,x) (a,b) = (e,b^{-1}xb) \in K_1\] and \(b^{-1}K_1 b = K_1\). Similar relations hold for \(K_2\). As \(K\) is supposed to be nontrivial, we have \(K_1 \neq K_2\).

The exchange automorphism \(\psi : (x,y) \mapsto (y,x)\) exchanges the subgroup \(K_1\) and \(K_2\). Thus, neither \(K_1\) nor \(K_2\) is invariant under all the automorphisms, so neither is characteristic. Therefore, \(K_1\) and \(K_2\) are both normal subgroups of \(G\) that are not characteristic.

When \(K = \mathbb Z_2\) is the cyclic group of order two, \(G = \mathbb Z_2 \times \mathbb Z_2\) is the Klein four-group. In particular, this gives a counterexample where the ambient group is an abelian group.

Example on the additive group \(\mathbb Q\)

Consider the additive group \((\mathbb Q,+)\) of rational numbers. The map \(\varphi : x \mapsto x/2\) is an automorphism. As \((\mathbb Q,+)\) is abelian, all subgroups are normal. However, the subgroup \(\mathbb Z\) is not sent into itself by \(\varphi\) as \(\varphi(1) = 1/ 2 \notin \mathbb Z\). Hence \(\mathbb Z\) is not a characteristic subgroup.

A non complete normed vector space

Consider a real normed vector space \(V\). \(V\) is called complete if every Cauchy sequence in \(V\) converges in \(V\). A complete normed vector space is also called a Banach space.

A finite dimensional vector space is complete. This is a consequence of a theorem stating that all norms on finite dimensional vector spaces are equivalent.

There are many examples of Banach spaces with infinite dimension like \((\ell_p, \Vert \cdot \Vert_p)\) the space of real sequences endowed with the norm \(\displaystyle \Vert x \Vert_p = \left( \sum_{i=1}^\infty \vert x_i \vert^p \right)^{1/p}\) for \(p \ge 1\), the space \((C(X), \Vert \cdot \Vert)\) of real continuous functions on a compact Hausdorff space \(X\) endowed with the norm \(\displaystyle \Vert f \Vert = \sup\limits_{x \in X} \vert f(x) \vert\) or the Lebesgue space \((L^1(\mathbb R), \Vert \cdot \Vert_1)\) of Lebesgue real integrable functions endowed with the norm \(\displaystyle \Vert f \Vert = \int_{\mathbb R} \vert f(x) \vert \ dx\).

Let’s give an example of a non complete normed vector space. Let \((P, \Vert \cdot \Vert_\infty)\) be the normed vector space of real polynomials endowed with the norm \(\displaystyle \Vert p \Vert_\infty = \sup\limits_{x \in [0,1]} \vert p(x) \vert\). Consider the sequence of polynomials \((p_n)\) defined by
\[p_n(x) = 1 + \frac{x}{2} + \frac{x^2}{4} + \cdots + \frac{x^n}{2^n} = \sum_{k=0}^{n} \frac{x^k}{2^k}.\] For \(m < n \) and \(x \in [0,1]\), we have \[\vert p_n(x) - p_m(x) \vert = \left\vert \sum_{i=m+1}^n \frac{x^i}{2^i} \right\vert \le \sum_{i=m+1}^n \frac{1}{2^i} \le \frac{1}{2^m}\] which proves that \((p_n)\) is a Cauchy sequence. Also for \(x \in [0,1]\) \[ \lim\limits_{n \to \infty} p_n(x) = p(x) \text{ where } p(x) = \frac{1}{1 - \frac{x}{2}}.\] As uniform converge implies pointwise convergence, if \((p_n)\) was convergent in \(P\), it would be towards \(p\). But \(p\) is not a polynomial function as none of its \(n\)th-derivative always vanishes. Hence \((p_n)\) is a Cauchy sequence that doesn't converge in \((P, \Vert \cdot \Vert_\infty)\), proving as desired that this normed vector space is not complete. More generally, a normed vector space with countable dimension is never complete. This can be proven using Baire category theorem which states that a non-empty complete metric space is not the countable union of nowhere-dense closed sets.

Uniform continuous function but not Lipschitz continuous

Consider the function \[
\begin{array}{l|rcl}
f : & [0,1] & \longrightarrow & [0,1] \\
& x & \longmapsto & \sqrt{x} \end{array}\]

\(f\) is continuous on the compact interval \([0,1]\). Hence \(f\) is uniform continuous on that interval according to Heine-Cantor theorem. For a direct proof, one can verify that for \(\epsilon > 0\), one have \(\vert \sqrt{x} – \sqrt{y} \vert \le \epsilon\) for \(\vert x – y \vert \le \epsilon^2\).

However \(f\) is not Lipschitz continuous. If \(f\) was Lipschitz continuous for a Lipschitz constant \(K > 0\), we would have \(\vert \sqrt{x} – \sqrt{y} \vert \le K \vert x – y \vert\) for all \(x,y \in [0,1]\). But we get a contradiction taking \(x=0\) and \(y=\frac{1}{4 K^2}\) as \[
\vert \sqrt{x} – \sqrt{y} \vert = \frac{1}{2 K} > \frac{1}{4 K} = K \vert x – y \vert\]