Von Neumann's inequality

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In operator theory, von Neumann's inequality, due to John von Neumann, states that, for a fixed contraction T, the polynomial functional calculus map is itself a contraction.

Formal statement[edit]

For a contraction T acting on a Hilbert space and a polynomial p, then the norm of p(T) is bounded by the supremum of |p(z)| for z in the unit disk."[1]


The inequality can be proved by considering the unitary dilation of T, for which the inequality is obvious.


This inequality is a specific case of Matsaev's conjecture. That is that for any polynomial P and contraction T on

where S is the right-shift operator. The von Neumann inequality proves it true for and for and it is true by straightforward calculation. S.W. Drury has shown in 2011 that the conjecture fails in the general case.[2]


  1. ^ "Department of Mathematics, Vanderbilt University Colloquium, AY 2007-2008". Archived from the original on 2008-03-16. Retrieved 2008-03-11.
  2. ^ S.W. Drury, "A counterexample to a conjecture of Matsaev", Linear Algebra and its Applications, Volume 435, Issue 2, 15 July 2011, Pages 323-329

See also[edit]