## Fatou’s Lemma

Today we prove Fatou’s Lemma, which is a precursor to the Fatou-Lebesgue theorem, and an important result in its own right.

If is a sequence of non-negative integrable functions then the function defined pointwise as

is also integrable, and we have the inequality

In fact, the lemma is often stated for a sequence of measurable functions and concludes that is measurable (along with the inequality), but we already know that the limit inferior of a sequence of measurable functions is measurable, and so the integrable case is the most interesting part for us.

So, we define the functions

so that each is integrable, each and the sequence is pointwise increasing. Monotonicity tells us that for each we have

and it follows that

We also know that

which means we can bring the monotone convergence theorem to bear. This tells us that

as asserted.

If it happened that were not integrable, then some of the would have to be only measurable — not integrable — themselves. And it couldn’t just be a finite number of them, or we could just drop them from the sequence. No, there would have to be an infinite subsequence of non-integrable , which would mean an infinite subsequence of their integrals would diverge to . Thus when we take the limit inferior of the integrals we get , as we do for the integral of itself, and the inequality still holds.

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Would you mind explaining why each g_n is integrable? Many thanks!

Comment by rich | December 7, 2012 |

Sorry, rich, I don’t have a solid answer off the top of my head (I was never really an analyst). My intuition is that the infimum of any (countable?) collection of integrable functions is integrable.

Comment by John Armstrong | December 9, 2012 |

Thanks for the reply! I think your intuition is correct – I’ll poke around in my copy of Apostol to see if I can find a substantiating theorem.

Comment by rich | December 10, 2012 |