Brouwer's Fixed Point Theorem/One-Dimensional Version

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Let $f: \closedint a b \to \closedint a b$ be a real function which is continuous on the closed interval $\closedint a b$.


$\exists \xi \in \closedint a b: \map f \xi = \xi$

That is, a continuous real function from a closed real interval to itself fixes some point of that interval.

Proof by Intermediate Value Theorem

As the codomain of $f$ is $\closedint a b$, it follows that the image of $f$ is a subset of $\closedint a b$.

Thus $\map f a \ge a$ and $\map f b \le b$.

Let us define the real function $g: \closedint a b \to \R$ by $\map g x = \map f x - x$.

Then by the Combined Sum Rule for Continuous Real Functions, $\map g x$ is continuous on $\closedint a b$.

But $\map g a \ge 0$ and $\map g b \le 0$.

By the Intermediate Value Theorem, $\exists \xi: \map g \xi = 0$.

Thus $\map f \xi = \xi$.


Proof using Connectedness

By Subset of Real Numbers is Interval iff Connected, $\closedint a b$ is connected.

Aiming for a contradiction, suppose there is no fixed point.

Then $\map f a > a$ and $\map f b < b$.


$U = \set {x \in \closedint a b: \map f x > x}$
$V = \set {x \in \closedint a b: \map f x < x}$

Then $U$ and $V$ are open in $\closedint a b$.

Because $a \in U$ and $b\in V$, $U$ and $V$ are non-empty.

By assumption:

$U \cup V = \closedint a b$

Thus $\closedint a b$ is not connected, which is a contradiction.

Thus, by Proof by Contradiction, there exists at least one fixed point.


Source of Name

This entry was named for Luitzen Egbertus Jan Brouwer.