In $\Bbb R^3$, the cross product of two vectors $v$ and $w$ produces a vector $v \times w$ perpendicular to both. This tag is not meant for products in other mathematical contexts, such as products of groups (such as the [tag:direct-product]), sets (the Cartesian product), graphs, and so on.

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41
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6answers
17k views

Is the vector cross product only defined for 3D?

Wikipedia introduces the vector product for two vectors $\vec a$ and $\vec b$ as $$ \vec a \times\vec b=(||\vec a||||\vec b||\sin\Theta)\vec n $$ It then mentions that $\vec n$ is the vector normal ...
29
votes
4answers
6k views

Origin of the dot and cross product?

Most questions usually just relate to what these can be used for, that's fairly obvious to me since I've been programming 3D games/simulations for a while, but I've never really understood the inner ...
24
votes
1answer
2k views

What is the logic/rationale behind the vector cross product?

I don't think I ever understood the rationale behind this. I get that the dot product $\mathbf{a} \cdot \mathbf{b} =\lVert \mathbf{a}\rVert \cdot\lVert \mathbf{b}\rVert \cos\theta$ is derived from ...
18
votes
4answers
8k views

Wedge product and cross product - any difference?

I'm taking a course in differential geometry, and have here been introduced to the wedge product of to vectors defined (in Differential Geometry of Curves and Surfaces by Manfredo Perdigão do Carmo) ...
15
votes
2answers
5k views

Why is cross product only defined in 3 and 7 dimensions? [duplicate]

Why $3$ and $7$? I know from some reading that Hurwitz's Theorem explains this, but can someone help me build some intuition behind this or perhaps provide a simpler explanation? It still seems ...
14
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1answer
1k views

Wedge Product, A Novel Interpretation or Just Plain Wrong?

I have read (I think) all of the previous threads on this website (and many others) on this topic & unfortunately have not found an answer to my question. Due to the fact that I am only beginning ...
12
votes
6answers
10k views

Why does cross product give a vector which is perpendicular to a plane

I was wondering if anyone could give me the intuition behind the cross product of two vectors $\textbf{a}$ and $\textbf{b}$. Why does their cross product $\textbf{n} = \textbf{a} \times \textbf{b}$ ...
11
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3answers
9k views

What's the opposite of a cross product?

For example, $a \times b = c$ If you only know $a$ and $c$, what method can you use to find $b$?
10
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1answer
2k views

Do the BAC-CAB identity for triple vector product have some intepretation?

As in the title, I was wondering if the formula: $$a\times (b\times c)=b(a\cdot c)-c(a \cdot b)$$ for $\mathbb R ^3$ cross product has some geometrical interpretation. I've recently seen a proof (from ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

Why is the matrix-defined Cross Product of two 3D vectors always orthogonal?

By matrix-defined, I mean $$\left<a,b,c\right>\times\left<d,e,f\right> = \left| \begin{array}{ccc} i & j & k\\ a & b & c\\ d & e & f \end{array} \right|$...
10
votes
2answers
232 views

Is there a deeper meaning behind the “determinant” formula for the cross product?

We all know that for all vectors $\mathbf{a}, \mathbf{b} \in \mathbb{R^3}$, if $(a_x,a_y,a_z)^\top$ is the component form of $\mathbf{a}$ and similarly $(b_x, b_y, b_z)^\top$ is the component form of $...
9
votes
2answers
122 views

On defining cross (vector) product.

This has been bugging me for years so I finally decided to "derive" (for lack of a better term) the definition of the cross product in $\mathbb R{^3}$. Here was my method for finding a vector: $\...
8
votes
1answer
211 views

Maps of $\mathbb{R}^3$ preserving the cross product

Given a map $\phi:\Bbb R^3 \rightarrow \Bbb R^3$ such that for all $a,b \in \Bbb R^3$: $$\phi(a \times b)=\phi(a) \times \phi(b)$$ Is $\phi$ necessarily a rotation around the origin or the map ...
7
votes
6answers
8k views

Visual Ways to Remember Cross products of Unit vectors? Cross-product in $\mathbb F^3$?

Objective to find visual and accessible ways to remember this formula fast $$(x,y,z)\times(u,v,w)=(yw-zv,zu-xw,xv-yu)$$ I have used Sarrus' rule but it is slow, more here. Since it is slow, I have ...
7
votes
5answers
27k views

What is the general formula for calculating dot and cross products in spherical coordinates?

I was writing a C++ class for working with 3D vectors. I have written operations in the Cartesian coordinates easily, but I'm stuck and very confused at spherical coordinates. I googled my question ...
7
votes
2answers
199 views

Explanation of a cross product result

In my book the result $$(u\times v)\cdot(x\times y)=\begin{vmatrix} u\cdot x & v\cdot x \\u \cdot y & v \cdot y\end{vmatrix},$$ where u, v, x and y are arbitrary vectors, is stated (here '$\...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Why is cross product not commutative?

Why, conceptually, is the cross product not commutative? Obviously I could simply take a look at the formula for computing cross product from vector components to prove this, but I'm interested in why ...
7
votes
1answer
225 views

Can the cross product be a matrix?

On the Wikipedia article on the cross product is says that a vector $a$ which is itself a cross product (that is $a=c\times d$), can be represented in the expression $a \times b$ for some other vector ...
7
votes
1answer
441 views

Does this cross-product norm inequality hold?

Let $\times$ denote the cross-product. $\;$ Is it the case that For all unit vectors $\:\mathbf{x}\hspace{.01 in},\hspace{-0.03 in}\mathbf{y}\hspace{-0.03 in},\hspace{-0.02 in}\mathbf{z}\:$ in $\...
6
votes
2answers
425 views

Proof for vectors involving cross and dot product

Prove that for any two vectors $\mathbf a$ and $\mathbf b$, $\lvert \mathbf a \times \mathbf b \rvert^2 + (\mathbf a \cdot \mathbf b)^2 = \lvert \mathbf a \rvert^2 \, \lvert \mathbf b \rvert^2$. Can ...
6
votes
6answers
3k views

Sphere equation given 4 points

Find the equation of the Sphere give the 4 points (3,2,1), (1,-2,-3), (2,1,3) and (-1,1,2). The *failed* solution I tried is kinda straigh forward: We need to find the center of the sphere. Having ...
6
votes
2answers
347 views

Proof of identity: cross product of three vectors

A book I'm reading contains the following (paraphrased) \begin{equation} (a \times b) \times c = (a \cdot c)b - (b \cdot c)a \end{equation} This is supposed to follow from: \begin{equation} (a \times ...
6
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1answer
1k views

Cross product of vectors as a determinant: valid matrix operation?

"The definition of the cross product can also be represented by the determinant of a formal matrix." —Wikipedia This seems like a hack to me—something of much practical use but not ...
6
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1answer
91 views

Slick proof of cross product identities

The cross product between vectors in $\mathbb{R}^3$ obeys two pleasant identities (sometimes named after Lagrange), namely $a\times(b\times c)=b(a\cdot c)-c(a\cdot b)$ $(a\times b)\cdot(c\times d)=(...
5
votes
2answers
921 views

Example of an associative cross product, any significance?

While trying to find cases that showed the cross product is not associative, I found some that were. I'm trying to show that $(\mathbf{A}\times \mathbf{B}) \times \mathbf{C} \ne \mathbf{A}\times (\...
5
votes
2answers
164 views

Cross product in > 3d

What exactly would we get by calculating the cross product of vectors in $R^n, n>3$ using the formula $\vec a \times\vec b=(||\vec a||||\vec b||\sin\theta)\vec n$ $\vec n$ being a vector normal ...
5
votes
3answers
104 views

How to divide by $(a_1,a_2,a_3)$

I have been searching for an explanation in Howard's Linear Algebra and couldn't find an identical example to the one below. The example tells me that vectors $\boldsymbol{a}_1$, $\boldsymbol{a}_2$ ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

Using the cross product to find the angle between two vectors in $\Bbb R^3$

Let $$u = \langle 1, −2, 3 \rangle \qquad \text{and} \qquad v = \langle −4, 5, 6 \rangle$$. Find the angle between $u$ and $v$, first by using the dot product and then using the cross product. I ...
5
votes
1answer
190 views

Can cross products be defined without coordinates?

I recently learned about cross products and understood that cross products can be computed without an origin and coordinates in three dimensions, like vectors can be defined without coordinates. But ...
5
votes
2answers
287 views

Geometric interpretation for eigenvalues and eigenvectors of the cross product's representation as a linear map

Fix ${\bf x} = (x_1,x_2,x_3) \in \Bbb R^3\setminus\{{\bf 0}\}$. We can look at the cross product as a linear map ${\bf x}\times: \Bbb R^3 \to \Bbb R^3$ which is represented in the standard basis by $$\...
5
votes
1answer
150 views

The proof of $\hat{b}(\hat{a}\cdot\hat{c})-\hat{c}(\hat{a}\cdot\hat{b})=\hat{a}\times(\hat{b}\times\hat{c})$

formula: $\hat{b}(\hat{a}\cdot\hat{c})-\hat{c}(\hat{a}\cdot\hat{b})=\hat{a}\times(\hat{b}\times\hat{c})$ $\hat{a}\times(\hat{b}\times\hat{c})$ is on the $\hat{b}$, $\hat{c}$ plane, so: $\hat{b}r+\...
5
votes
0answers
119 views

Generating a 3d ribbon from a series of points

I am attempting to generate a 3d ribbon from a set of 3d points. The idea is to generate a realistic ribbon which follows those points. In its current state, one example looks like this: In this ...
4
votes
8answers
4k views

Scalar triple product - why equivalent to determinant?

I'm looking at the scalar triple product and I'm wondering: is there any demonstration (possibly a simple one) that $$ \mathbf{a} \cdot \left(\mathbf{b} \times \mathbf{c} \right)= \begin{bmatrix} ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Rotational invariance of cross product

Hi guys I'm looking for a proof that $ ( Ra \times Rb ) = R ( a \times b ) $ where $\times$ is the three-dimensional cross product, and $R$ is a rotational matrix ( $\det R = 1$ and $R^T R = I$ ) I'...
4
votes
2answers
122 views

Exterior Product vs Cross Product

I was confused about the relationship between a set of basis vectors in 3D, $ \left\{\hat e_1, \hat e_2, \hat e_3 \right\} $ and their exterior products. In my head, it makes sense that the identity ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there a relationship between the cross product and quaternion multiplication?

I've just been introduced to the Kronecker delta, $\delta_{ij}$, along with the alternating tensor, $\varepsilon_{ijk}$ (in vector calculus). Motivation for the question: I've been introduced to ...
4
votes
1answer
507 views

Cross Product for functions

So functions are just uncountabley-infinite dimensional vectors, and as such there's a nice generalization of the inner product between two functions (the integral of their product). Is their a ...
4
votes
1answer
720 views

Determining partial derivatives and cross products for bicubic interpolation using function values only?

I'm trying to implement a bicubic interpolation algorithm. In order to calculate the interpolated values, I need to calculate sixteen coefficients used in the calculation process - and that's where I'...
4
votes
2answers
151 views

Why is $\det(\vec{A},\vec{B}) = |\vec{A} \times \vec{B}|$?

In the multivariable calculus class the teacher showed us the formula of the cross product $$ \vec{A} \times \vec{B} =\begin{vmatrix}\hat{\imath}& \hat{\jmath}& \hat{k} \\ a_1 & a_2 &...
4
votes
2answers
727 views

Interpretation of eigenvectors of cross product

If we fix a non-zero vector $\boldsymbol{v}\in\mathbb{R}^3$, then the linear map $\boldsymbol{x}\mapsto\boldsymbol{v}\times\boldsymbol{x}$ has trivial eigenvectors $\boldsymbol{x}_1=t\boldsymbol{v}$ (...
4
votes
3answers
616 views

Cross product- square

I recently saw the following expression somewhere- $$\frac{1}{2} \left\| \frac{\vec{u}}{9} \times \frac{\vec{u} + \vec{v}}{9} \right\| + \frac{1}{2} \left\| \frac{\vec{u} + \vec{v}}{9}\times \frac{\...
4
votes
0answers
62 views

What is the intuition behind the cross product? [duplicate]

I've researched lots of places and still cannot wrap my head around the cross product. The closest thing I have to an understanding of the cross product is that its a measure of how orthogonal two ...
4
votes
1answer
29 views

Differential Equation with Cross Products [without separating into system of equations]

I need to solve the following equation: $$ \frac{d m}{d t}=-m\wedge b-\alpha m\wedge (m\wedge b), $$ where $b$ is constant However, I was instructed specifically not to separate the calculation into ...
4
votes
0answers
283 views

Cross Product - Moments :: Dynamics

Some background: I am self studying dynamics and I have encountered a fundamental problem with either my understanding of linear algebra, or I am just plain dumb. So, I print screened the page of the ...
4
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1answer
103 views

How to solve cross-products including matrices?

I'm a programmer and I'm doing a whitebalance-transformation in RGB colorspace. This should work with this transformation matrix that I've found in literature: $$ \begin{pmatrix} R \\ G \\ B ...
3
votes
3answers
20k views

Area of a parallelogram, vertices $(-1,-1), (4,1), (5,3), (10,5)$.

I need to find the area of a parallelogram with vertices $(-1,-1), (4,1), (5,3), (10,5)$. If I denote $A=(-1,-1)$, $B=(4,1)$, $C=(5,3)$, $D=(10,5)$, then I see that $\overrightarrow{AB}=(5,2)=\...
3
votes
3answers
339 views

Making sense of a cross product of three vectors

Because of the cross product of two vectors being another vector I can calculate $\vec a\times(\vec b\times\vec c)$ as well as $(\vec a\times\vec b)\times\vec c$. I know that the cross product is not ...
3
votes
4answers
48 views

A high-level reason that $u \cdot (v \times w) = (u \times v) \cdot w$?

I can do the algebra to show that for $u, v, w \in \mathbb{R}^3$, this identity is true: $$u \cdot (v \times w) = (u \times v) \cdot w$$ But is there a more high-level reason? I didn't expect the ...
3
votes
4answers
109 views

How does computing the determinant of a matrix with unit vectors give you the Cross Product?

Say you had $(a_x,a_y,a_z)\times(b_x,b_y,b_z)$, you would set up a matrix like the following: And the resulting would be your Cross Product or the coordinates of an orthogonal vector. My question ...
3
votes
2answers
52 views

Sum of three cross products is zero.

Let $u,v,w\in \mathbb R^3$. Prove $u \times( v \times w)+v \times( w \times u)+w \times( u \times v) =0$ I guess things would work out if I just expanded as a ton of products. Is there a better way?