I have this problem in my assignment:

Show that there do not exist uncountably many independent, non-constant random variables on $ ([0,1],\mathcal{B},\lambda) $, where $ \lambda $ is the Lebesgue measure on the Borel $ \sigma $-algebra $ \mathcal{B} $ of $ [0,1] $.

Can someone please help me to solve this?


Assume that $(X_i)_{i \in I} $ are independent random variables. Let $Y_i := X_i \cdot 1_{|X_i|\leq C_i} $, where $C_i>0$ is chosen so large that $Y_i \not\equiv c_i $ for some constant $c_i $. This is possible since the $X_i $ are non-constant.

Then the $(Y_i - \Bbb{E}(Y_i))_i $ form a family of independent and hence orthogonal random variables. Note that the $Y_i $ are bounded and thus contained in $L^2$.

But the separable (!) space $L^2 ([0,1],\lambda) $ can only contain countably many elements which are mutually orthogonal. Hence, $I $ is countable.

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  • $\begingroup$ thanks a lot for the answer. That was a great help!! $\endgroup$ – Raghava G D Nov 30 '15 at 6:05
  • $\begingroup$ @ PhoemueX: Are there other approaches to solve this problem that you are aware of ? $\endgroup$ – Raghava G D Nov 30 '15 at 7:23
  • $\begingroup$ @Raghava: I was thinking about that myself. At the moment I don't see a substantially different method. One could probably argue somehow using the cardinality of the Borel sigma algebra, but this idea is somewhat imprecise right now. $\endgroup$ – PhoemueX Nov 30 '15 at 9:18
  • $\begingroup$ Does this also imply that there do not exist uncountably many orthogonal, non-constant random variables on $([0,1], \mathcal{B}, \lambda)$? $\endgroup$ – gigalord Jan 9 at 21:01
  • $\begingroup$ @gigalord: Yes, exactly. $\endgroup$ – PhoemueX Jan 9 at 22:39

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