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Legal proof that set of Rational numbers is countable?

  1. Mar 24, 2010 #1

    Just wondering if this is a correct way to say the set of RATIONAL numbers is countable:

    Rationals (Q) is countable , because for every Q = p/q , such that p & q are positive INTS (Z)

    and since the set of positive INTs (Z) is countable ( a 1:1 correspondence) Q is countable because it is a SUBSET of a countable set.....

    it can be listed by listing those Q's with
    denominator q = 1 in the first row of a listing matrix
    denominator q =2 in the second row and so on...
    with p1 = 1 , p2 =2, etc... for each row...

    will eventually cover ALL rationals

    Ive seen the little N x N matrix and path listing for each rational...but I would like to know...
    How would you show this as a mapped 1:1 function?? such that A ---> B showing f(a) = some b??

    Thanks for any input...
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2010
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 24, 2010 #2
    You might be asking for an onto function. 1:1 means if f(a)=f(b), then a = b.
  4. Mar 25, 2010 #3
    Thanks for the reply...
    However, when I said
    I shouldve said:
    A 1:1 correspondence function or a bijective function...
  5. Mar 25, 2010 #4


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    The standard proof (Cantor) is as follows: Let a(i,j)=i/j. Then the order to show countable is a(1,1), a(2,1), a(1,2), a(3,1), [a(2,2)], a(1,3), a(4,1), a(3,2), a(2,3), a(1,4),.... skipping terms in [] since these are not in lowest terms.
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