Original manuscript: 2008/03/04
It is well-known that the Lebesgue integral generalises the Riemann integral. However, as is also well-known but less frequently well-explained, this generalisation alone is not the reason why the Lebesgue integral is important and needs to be a part of the arsenal of any mathematician, pure or applied. Those who understand the correct reasons for the importance of the Lebesgue integral realise there are at least two crucial differences between the Riemann and Lebesgue theories. One is the difference between the Dominated Convergence Theorem in the two theories, and another is the completeness of the normed vector spaces of integrable functions. Here topological interpretations are provided for the differences in the Dominated Convergence Theorems, and explicit counterexamples are given which illustrate the deficiencies of the Riemann integral. Also illustrated are the deleterious consequences of the defects in the Riemann integral on Fourier transform theory if one restricts to Riemann integrable functions.
Last Updated: Wed Jun 14 07:49:33 2017