“O God, I could be bound in a nutshell, and count myself a king of infinite space – were it not that I have bad dreams.”
Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2. Lines 252-254.
Recently, a colleague asked me:
I know that there are different sizes of infinity, but what I want to know is how many different sizes of infinity there are?
This is a great question! I tried to explain my answer at the time, but it came out garbled and I think I confused him more than I helped. So this post is an effort to remedy that and answer his question.
In November 2018, 41 of the top researchers in Ramsey theory met at the BIRS in Banff for the Unifying Themes in Ramsey Theory conference. By all measures the conference was a big success. What makes Ramsey theory so special is that it has wide ranging impacts in diverse fields in mathematics. The participants gave talks showing how Ramsey theory has impacted fields like graph theory, topological dynamics, set theory, model theory, operator algebras, logic and statistics.
Since I have a somewhat broad base of knowledge in Ramsey theory, I tried my best to give a short description of each of the speakers in language that makes sense to me. My view is biased, and my intent is always to show off the amazing work everyone is doing. I hope nothing comes across as negative or critical; that is not my intent.
I will be participating as a trainer for Canada’s 2018 IMO Summer Training camp. I’m giving a session on graph theory. As I prepared my notes I found many resources online that already cover some aspects of graph theory. So here are those resources:
This is an in-depth description of the basic combinatorial and geometric techniques in graph theory. It is a very thorough and helpful document with many Olympiad level problems for each topic. (No solutions are given.)
(This is the ninth lecture in Stevo Todorcevic’s Forcing class, held in the fall of 2012. You can find the eighth lecture here. Quotes by Stevo are in dark blue; some are deep, some are funny, some are paraphrased so use your judgement. As always I appreciate any type of feedback, including reporting typos, in the comments below.)
Now that you know the basics of countable elementary submodels (CESM), you might think that you are in the clear. “Mike”, you say arrogantly, “I know all the most basic properties of CESMs, without proof I remind you, what else could I possibly want?”. I gently and patiently remind you that CESMs are worthless unless you know how to apply them properly.
So let’s do that.
Here are two theorems whose proofs you might already know, but that can be proved using elementary submodels. I will show you a proof of the -system lemma (a fundamental lemma in infinitary combinatorics) and a topological theorem of Arhangel’skii. Both of these proofs are taken from Just & Weese’s book “Discovering Modern Set Theory 2”, chapter 24.