In mathematics, a sober space is a topological space X such that every (nonempty) irreducible closed subset of X is the closure of exactly one point of X: that is, every irreducible closed subset has a unique generic point.


Sober spaces have a variety of cryptomorphic definitions, which are documented in this section. All except the definition in terms of nets are described in.[1] In each case below, replacing "unique" with "at most one" gives an equivalent formulation of the T0 axiom. Replacing it with "at least one" is equivalent to the property that the T0 quotient of the space is sober, which is sometimes referred to as having "enough points" in the literature.

In terms of morphisms of frames and locales

A topological space X is sober if every map that preserves all joins and all finite meets from its partially ordered set of open subsets to is the inverse image of a unique continuous function from the one-point space to X.

This may be viewed as a correspondence between the notion of a point in a locale and a point in a topological space, which is the motivating definition.

Using completely prime filters

A filter F of open sets is said to be completely prime if for any family of open sets such that , we have that for some i. A space X is sober if it each completely prime filter is the neighbourhood filter of a unique point in X.

In terms of nets

A net is self-convergent if it converges to every point in , or equivalently if its eventuality filter is completely prime. A net that converges to converges strongly if it can only converge to points in the closure of . A space is sober if every self-convergent net converges strongly to a unique point .[2]

In particular, a space is T1 and sober precisely if every self-convergent net is constant.

With irreducible closed sets

A closed set is irreducible if it cannot be written as the union of two proper closed subsets. A space is sober if every irreducible closed subset is the closure of a unique point.

As a property of sheaves on the space

A space X is sober if every functor from the category of sheaves Sh(X) to Set that preserves all finite limits and all small colimits must be the stalk functor of a unique point x.

Properties and examples

Any Hausdorff (T2) space is sober (the only irreducible subsets being points), and all sober spaces are Kolmogorov (T0), and both implications are strict.[3]

Sobriety is not comparable to the T1 condition:

Moreover T2 is stronger than T1 and sober, i.e., while every T2 space is at once T1 and sober, there exist spaces that are simultaneously T1 and sober, but not T2. One such example is the following: let X be the set of real numbers, with a new point p adjoined; the open sets being all real open sets, and all cofinite sets containing p.

Sobriety of X is precisely a condition that forces the lattice of open subsets of X to determine X up to homeomorphism, which is relevant to pointless topology.

Sobriety makes the specialization preorder a directed complete partial order.

Every continuous directed complete poset equipped with the Scott topology is sober.

Finite T0 spaces are sober.[4]

The prime spectrum Spec(R) of a commutative ring R with the Zariski topology is a compact sober space.[3] In fact, every spectral space (i.e. a compact sober space for which the collection of compact open subsets is closed under finite intersections and forms a base for the topology) is homeomorphic to Spec(R) for some commutative ring R. This is a theorem of Melvin Hochster.[5] More generally, the underlying topological space of any scheme is a sober space.

The subset of Spec(R) consisting only of the maximal ideals, where R is a commutative ring, is not sober in general.

See also


  1. ^ Mac Lane, Saunders (1992). Sheaves in geometry and logic: a first introduction to topos theory. New York: Springer-Verlag. pp. 472–482. ISBN 978-0-387-97710-2.
  2. ^ Sünderhauf, Philipp (1 December 2000). "Sobriety in Terms of Nets". Applied Categorical Structures. 8 (4): 649–653. doi:10.1023/A:1008673321209.
  3. ^ a b Hart, Klaas Pieter; Nagata, Jun-iti; Vaughan, Jerry E. (2004). Encyclopedia of general topology. Elsevier. pp. 155–156. ISBN 978-0-444-50355-8.
  4. ^ "General topology - Finite $T_0$ spaces are sober".
  5. ^ Hochster, Melvin (1969), "Prime ideal structure in commutative rings", Trans. Amer. Math. Soc., 142: 43–60, doi:10.1090/s0002-9947-1969-0251026-x

Further reading