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# First-countable space

In topology, a branch of mathematics, a first-countable space is a topological space satisfying the "first axiom of countability". Specifically, a space, X, is said to be first-countable if each point has a countable neighbourhood basis (local base). That is, for each point, x, in space X there exists a sequence, U1, U2, … of open neighborhoods of x such that for any open neighborhood, V, of x, there exists an integer, i, with Ui contained in V.

## Examples and counterexamples

The majority of 'everyday' spaces in mathematics are first-countable. In particular, every metric space is first-countable. To see this, note that the set of open balls centered at x with radius 1/n for integers n > 0 form a countable local base at x.

An example of a space which is not first-countable is the cofinite topology on an uncountable set (such as the real line).

Another counterexample is the ordinal space ω1+1 = [0,ω1] where ω1 is the smallest uncountable ordinal number. The element ω1 is a limit point of the subset [0,ω1) even though no sequence of elements in [0,ω1) has the element ω1 as its limit. In particular, the point ω1 in the space ω1+1 = [0,ω1] does not have a countable local base. The subspace ω1 = [0,ω1) is first-countable however, since ω1 is the only such point.

## Properties

One of the most important properties of first-countable spaces is that given a subset A, a point x lies in the closure of A if and only if there exists a sequence {xn} in A which converges to x. This has consequences for limits and continuity. In particular, if f is a function on a first-countable space, then f has a limit L at the point x if and only if for every sequence xnx, where xnx for all n, we have f(xn) → L. Also, if f is a function on a first-countable space, then f is continuous if and only if whenever xnx, then f(xn) → f(x).

In first-countable spaces, sequential compactness and countable compactness are equivalent properties. However, there exist examples of sequentially compact, first-countable spaces which aren't compact (these are necessarily non-metric spaces). One such space is the ordinal space [0,ω1). Every first-countable space is compactly generated.

Every subspace of a first-countable space is first-countable. Any countable product of a first-countable space is first-countable, although uncountable products need not be.