Bolzano–Weierstrass theorem
In mathematics, specifically in real analysis, the Bolzano–Weierstrass theorem, named after Bernard Bolzano and Karl Weierstrass, is a fundamental result about convergence in a finitedimensional Euclidean space R^{n}. The theorem states that each bounded sequence in R^{n} has a convergent subsequence.^{[1]} An equivalent formulation is that a subset of R^{n} is sequentially compact if and only if it is closed and bounded.^{[2]} The theorem is sometimes called the sequential compactness theorem.^{[3]}
Proof
First we prove the theorem when , in which case the ordering on can be put to good use. Indeed, we have the following result.
Lemma: Every sequence in has a monotone subsequence.
Proof: Let us call a positive integer a "peak of the sequence" if implies i.e., if is greater than every subsequent term in the sequence. Suppose first that the sequence has infinitely many peaks, . Then the subsequence corresponding to these peaks is monotonically decreasing. So suppose now that there are only finitely many peaks, let be the last peak and . Then is not a peak, since , which implies the existence of an with . Again, is not a peak, hence there is with . Repeating this process leads to an infinite nondecreasing subsequence , as desired.^{[4]}
Now suppose we have a bounded sequence in ; by the Lemma there exists a monotone subsequence, necessarily bounded. It follows from the monotone convergence theorem that this subsequence must converge.
Finally, the general case can be reduced to the case of as follows: given a bounded sequence in , the sequence of first coordinates is a bounded real sequence, hence has a convergent subsequence. We can then extract a subsubsequence on which the second coordinates converge, and so on, until in the end we have passed from the original sequence to a subsequence times — which is still a subsequence of the original sequence — on which each coordinate sequence converges, hence the subsequence itself is convergent.
Alternative proof
There is also an alternative proof of the Bolzano–Weierstrass theorem using nested intervals. We start with a bounded sequence :

Because is bounded, this sequence has a lower bound and an upper bound .

We take as the first interval for the sequence of nested intervals.

Then we split at the mid into two equally sized subintervals.

We take this subinterval as the second interval of the sequence of nested intervals which contains infinitely many members of . Because each sequence has infinitely many members, there must be at least one subinterval which contains infinitely many members.

Then we split again at the mid into two equally sized subintervals.

Again we take this subinterval as the third subinterval of the sequence of nested intervals, which contains infinitely many members of .

We continue this process infinitely many times. Thus we get a sequence of nested intervals.
Because we halve the length of an interval at each step the limit of the interval's length is zero. Thus there is a number which is in each Interval . Now we show, that is an accumulation point of .
Take a neighbourhood of . Because the length of the intervals converges to zero, there is an Interval which is a subset of . Because contains by construction infinitely many members of and , also contains infinitely many members of . This proves, that is an accumulation point of . Thus, there is a subsequence of which converges to .
Sequential compactness in Euclidean spaces
Suppose A is a subset of R^{n} with the property that every sequence in A has a subsequence converging to an element of A. Then A must be bounded, since otherwise there exists a sequence x_{m} in A with  x_{m}  ≥ m for all m, and then every subsequence is unbounded and therefore not convergent. Moreover, A must be closed, since from a noninterior point x in the complement of A one can build an Avalued sequence converging to x. Thus the subsets A of R^{n} for which every sequence in A has a subsequence converging to an element of A – i.e., the subsets which are sequentially compact in the subspace topology – are precisely the closed and bounded sets.
This form of the theorem makes especially clear the analogy to the Heine–Borel theorem, which asserts that a subset of R^{n} is compact if and only if it is closed and bounded. In fact, general topology tells us that a metrizable space is compact if and only if it is sequentially compact, so that the Bolzano–Weierstrass and Heine–Borel theorems are essentially the same.
History
The Bolzano–Weierstrass theorem is named after mathematicians Bernard Bolzano and Karl Weierstrass. It was actually first proved by Bolzano in 1817 as a lemma in the proof of the intermediate value theorem. Some fifty years later the result was identified as significant in its own right, and proved again by Weierstrass. It has since become an essential theorem of analysis.
Application to economics
There are different important equilibrium concepts in economics, the proofs of the existence of which often require variations of the Bolzano–Weierstrass theorem. One example is the existence of a Pareto efficient allocation. An allocation is a matrix of consumption bundles for agents in an economy, and an allocation is Pareto efficient if no change can be made to it which makes no agent worse off and at least one agent better off (here rows of the allocation matrix must be rankable by a preference relation). The Bolzano–Weierstrass theorem allows one to prove that if the set of allocations is compact and nonempty, then the system has a Paretoefficient allocation.
See also
 Sequentially compact space
 Heine–Borel theorem
 Fundamental axiom of analysis
 Ekeland's variational principle
Notes
References
 Bartle, Robert G.; Sherbert, Donald R. (2000). Introduction to Real Analysis (3rd ed.). New York: J. Wiley.
 Fitzpatrick, Patrick M. (2006). Advanced Calculus (2nd ed.). Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole. ISBN 0534376037.
External links
 Hazewinkel, Michiel, ed. (2001), "BolzanoWeierstrass theorem", Encyclopedia of Mathematics, Springer, ISBN 9781556080104
 A proof of the Bolzano–Weierstrass theorem
 PlanetMath: proof of Bolzano–Weierstrass Theorem
 A proof of the Bolzano–Weierstrass theorem as a rap