[FOM] Q and A (nonstandard analysis)
Martin Davis
martin at eipye.com
Wed Nov 7 00:50:30 EST 2007
On November 6 Gabriel Stolzenberg wrote:
>Question. What is the name of the famous conjecture in analysis
>whose proof by Abraham Robinson is sometimes offered as a demonstration
>of the power of nonstandard analysis? (Jim Holt did this in the NYR
>but, as I recall, without identifying the conjecture.)
The reference is likely to the Bernstein-Robinson theorem:
Let T be a linear operator on Hilbert space H such that for some polynomial p,
p(T) is compact. Then H has a non-trivial closed linear subspace E
such that T maps E
into itself.
This answered a problem of Paul Halmos that had been open for a long
time. The proof used non-standard methods in a particularly beautiful
way, approximating an infinite dimensional space from above by a
space with hyperfinite dimension, so the theorems of finite
dimensional linear algebra could be brought to bear.
Soon afterwards generalizations of the theorem were proved by standard methods.
Martin
Martin Davis
Visiting Scholar UC Berkeley
Professor Emeritus, NYU
martin at eipye.com
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http://www.eipye.com
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