Let’s prove that if , then either is an integer, or else it is irrational. (Cf. Abbott, Understanding analysis, Exercise 1.2.1.) There are many proofs of this fact. I present three.

1.

The standard proof of this fact uses the prime factorization of : There is a unique way of writing as , where the are distinct primes numbers, and the are positive integers (the number corresponds to the empty product, but since is a square, we may as well assume in what follows that ).

We show that if is rational, then in fact each is even, so is actually an integer. Write where are integers that we may assume relatively prime. This gives us that .

Consider any of the primes in the factorization of . Let and be the largest powers of that divide and , respectively, say and where does not divide either of and . Similarly, write , where does not divide ( is what we called above). We have

The point is that since is prime, it does not divide or : If is a prime and divides a product (where are integers), then divides or it divides .

This means that either is even (as we wanted to show), so that , or else (upon dividing both sides of the displayed equation by the smaller of and ), divides one of the two sides of the resulting equation, but not the other, a contradiction.

2.

The above is the standard proof, but there are other arguments that do not rely on prime factorizations. One I particularly like uses Bézout theorem: If is the greatest common divisor of the positive integers and , then there are integers such that .

Suppose . We may assume that are relatively prime, and therefore there are integers such that . The key observation is that . This, coupled with elementary algebra, verifies that

but the latter is an integer, and we are done.

3.

Another nice way of arguing, again by contradiction, is as follows: Suppose that is not an integer, but it is rational. There is a unique integer with , so . Let be the least positive integer such that is an integer, call it . Note that , which gives us a contradiction if is again an integer. But this can be verified by a direct computation:

.

4.

As a closing remark, the three arguments above generalize to show that is either an integer or irrational, for all positive integers . Similarly, if is rational for some positive integers , then both are th powers. (It is a useful exercise to see precisely how these generalizations go.)

(As I pointed out in a comment) yes, partial Woodinness is common in arguments in inner model theory. Accordingly, you obtain determinacy results addressing specific pointclasses (typically, well beyond projective). To illustrate this, let me "randomly" highlight two examples: See here for $\Sigma^1_2$-Woodin cardinals and, more generally, the noti […]

I am not sure which statement you heard as the "Ultimate $L$ axiom," but I will assume it is the following version: There is a proper class of Woodin cardinals, and for all sentences $\varphi$ that hold in $V$, there is a universally Baire set $A\subseteq{\mathbb R}$ such that, letting $\theta=\Theta^{L(A,{\mathbb R})}$, we have that $HOD^{L(A,{\ma […]

A Wadge initial segment (of $\mathcal P(\mathbb R)$) is a subset $\Gamma$ of $\mathcal P(\mathbb R)$ such that whenever $A\in\Gamma$ and $B\le_W A$, where $\le_W$ denotes Wadge reducibility, then $B\in\Gamma$. Note that if $\Gamma\subseteq\mathcal P(\mathbb R)$ and $L(\Gamma,\mathbb R)\models \Gamma=\mathcal P(\mathbb R)$, then $\Gamma$ is a Wadge initial se […]

Craig: For a while, there was some research on improving bounds on the number of variables or degree of unsolvable Diophantine equations. Unfortunately, I never got around to cataloging the known results in any systematic way, so all I can offer is some pointers to relevant references, but I am not sure of what the current records are. Perhaps the first pape […]

Yes. Consider, for instance, Conway's base 13 function $c$, or any function that is everywhere discontinuous and has range $\mathbb R$ in every interval. Pick continuous bijections $f_n:\mathbb R\to(-1/n,1/n)$ for $n\in\mathbb N^+$. Pick a strictly decreasing sequence $(x_n)_{n\ge1}$ converging to $0$. Define $f$ by setting $f(x)=0$ if $x=0$ or $\pm x_n […]

All proofs of the Bernstein-Cantor-Schroeder theorem that I know either directly or with very little work produce an explicit bijection from any given pair of injections. There is an obvious injection from $[0,1]$ to $C[0,1]$ mapping each $t$ to the function constantly equal to $t$, so the question reduces to finding an explicit injection from $C[0,1]$ to $[ […]

One way we formalize this "limitation" idea is via interpretative power. John Steel describes this approach carefully in several places, so you may want to read what he says, in particular at Solomon Feferman, Harvey M. Friedman, Penelope Maddy, and John R. Steel. Does mathematics need new axioms?, The Bulletin of Symbolic Logic, 6 (4), (2000), 401 […]

"There are" examples of discontinuous homomorphisms between Banach algebras. However, the quotes are there because the question is independent of the usual axioms of set theory. I quote from the introduction to W. Hugh Woodin, "A discontinuous homomorphism from $C(X)$ without CH", J. London Math. Soc. (2) 48 (1993), no. 2, 299-315, MR1231 […]

This is Hausdorff's formula. Recall that $\tau^\lambda$ is the cardinality of the set ${}^\lambda\tau$ of functions $f\!:\lambda\to\tau$, and that $\kappa^+$ is regular for all $\kappa$. Now, there are two possibilities: If $\alpha\ge\tau$, then $2^\alpha\le\tau^\alpha\le(2^\alpha)^\alpha=2^\alpha$, so $\tau^\alpha=2^\alpha$. In particular, if $\alpha\g […]

Fix a model $M$ of a theory for which it makes sense to talk about $\omega$ ($M$ does not need to be a model of set theory, it could even be simply an ordered set with a minimum in which every element has an immediate successor and every element other than the minimum has an immediate predecessor; in this case we could identify $\omega^M$ with $M$ itself). W […]

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