For questions about vector spaces and their properties. More general questions about linear algebra belong under the [tag:linear-algebra] tag. A vector space is a space which consists of elements called "vectors", which can be added and multiplied by scalars. In other words, these are the spaces ...

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48
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3answers
4k views

Why are vector spaces not isomorphic to their duals?

Assuming the axiom of choice, set $\mathbb F$ to be some field (we can assume it has characteristics $0$). I was told, by more than one person, that if $\kappa$ is an infinite cardinal then the ...
37
votes
6answers
3k views

What do mathematicians mean by “equipped”

I am a mathematical illiterate so I do not know what people mean when they say equipped. For example, I say that Hilbert space is a vector space equipped with a inner product. What does that ...
36
votes
1answer
655 views

In categorical terms, why is there no canonical isomorphism from a finite dimensional vector space to its dual?

I've read in several places that one motivation for category theory was to be able to give precise meaning to statements like, "finite dimensional vector spaces are canonically isomorphic to their ...
30
votes
2answers
4k views

Connections between metrics, norms and scalar products (for understanding e.g. Banach and Hilbert spaces)

I am trying to understand the differences between $$ \begin{array}{|l|l|l|} \textbf{vector space} & \textbf{general} & \textbf{+ completeness}\\\hline \text{metric}& \text{metric ...
28
votes
4answers
1k views

Given two basis sets for a finite Hilbert space, does an unbiased vector exist?

Let $\{A_n\}$ and $\{B_n\}$ be two bases for an $N$-dimensional Hilbert space. Does there exist a unit vector $V$ such that: $$(V\cdot A_j)\;(A_j\cdot V) = (V\cdot B_j)\;(B_j\cdot V) = 1/N\;\;\; \ ...
28
votes
6answers
9k 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 ...
26
votes
2answers
6k views

Difference between metric and norm made concrete: The case of Euclid

This is a follow-up question on this one. The answers to my questions made things a lot clearer to me (Thank you for that!), yet there is some point that still bothers me. This time I am making ...
21
votes
4answers
601 views

Proving an integer is non-negative by showing there is a vector space with it as its dimension.

The other day I attended a lecture on methods to show whether or not a number is an integer. We were given examples of showing it is the number of ways to count something, and to show there exist ...
19
votes
9answers
35k views

Calculate Rotation Matrix to align Vector A to Vector B in 3d?

I have one triangle in 3d space that I am tracking in a simulation. Between time steps I have the the previous normal of the triangle and the current normal of the triangle along with both the current ...
19
votes
1answer
1k views

Cardinality of a Hamel basis

What is the cardinality of a Hamel basis of $\ell_1(\mathbb{R})$? Is it deducible in ZFC that it is seemingly continuum? Does it follow from this that each Banach space of density $\leqslant ...
19
votes
3answers
1k views

Determinant of transpose?

$$\det(A^T) = \det(A)$$ Using the geometric definition of the determinant as the area spanned by the columns could someone give a geometric interpretation of the property? Thanks!
18
votes
1answer
307 views

Count the number of bases in a subset

Consider $\mathbb{R}^n$ as a vector space over $\mathbb{R}$. Consider the subset $\mathrm{S}^n = \{(x_1,\ldots,x_n) \in \mathbb{R}^n | x_i = 0 \; \mathrm{or} \; 1\;\forall i = 1,\ldots,n\}$. How many ...
17
votes
3answers
1k views

What is an inner product space?

As I've understood it, what I've learned is that the dot product is just one of many possible "inner product spaces". Can someone explain this concept? When is it useful to define it as something ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

Inner Product Spaces over Finite Fields

Inner product spaces are defined over a field $\mathbb{F}$ which is either $\mathbb{R}$ or $\mathbb{C}$. I want to know what happens if we try to define them over some finite field. Here's an ...
17
votes
4answers
428 views

Why the whole exterior algebra?

So, I've been reading up on multilinear algebra a bit. In particular, I've been reading up on the construction of of the exterior algebra of a finite dimensional vector space $X$, say over ...
16
votes
4answers
1k views

Is a vector space over a finite field always finite?

Definition of a vector space: Let $V$ be a set and $(\mathbb{K}, +, \cdot)$ a field. $V$ is called a vector space over the field $\mathbb{K}$ if: V1: $(V, +)$ is a commutative group V2: $\forall ...
16
votes
1answer
701 views

Why is the inclusion of the tensor product of the duals into the dual of the tensor product not an isomorphism?

Let $V$ and $W$ be vector spaces (say over the reals). There is a linear injection $V^* \otimes W^* \to (V \otimes W)^*$ which sends $\sum_i f_i \otimes g_i \in V^* \otimes W^*$ to the unique ...
16
votes
1answer
831 views

Vector Spaces and AC

I know that the proof that every vector space has a basis uses the Axiom of Choice, or Zorn's Lemma. If we consider an axiom system without the Axiom of Choice, are there vector spaces that provably ...
16
votes
1answer
250 views

Combinatorics in finite vector space

Let $q$ be a prime power and $V$ a finite $\mathbb F_q$-vector space with two subspaces $I$ and $J$. Let $k$, $a$ and $b$ be non-negative integers. Determine the number of subspaces $K$ of $V$ ...
15
votes
9answers
1k views

Motivation for linear transformations

Sometimes I hate classes for mathematicians. It is not their precision and formality in building the concepts, but they never give a motivation. So in the course my professor started right with the ...
15
votes
3answers
9k views

How to find basis for intersection of two vector spaces

What is the general way of finding the basis for intersection of two vector spaces? Suppose I'm given the bases of two vector spaces U and W: $$ \mathrm{Base}(U)= \left\{ \left(1,1,0,-1\right), ...
15
votes
4answers
1k views

How to develop an intuitive feel for spaces

I'm a physicist who's currently delving deeper into what I would call more 'hardcore' maths (e.g. FEM and control theory). Every now and then, I come across various spaces, such as vector spaces, ...
15
votes
1answer
1k views

Prove $\mathbb{Z}$ is not a vector space over a field

This is an exercise from Chapter 3 of Golan's linear algebra book. Problem: Show $\mathbb{Z}$ is not a vector space over a field. Solution attempt: Suppose there is a such a field and proceed by ...
15
votes
3answers
564 views

Dot Product Intuition

I'm searching to develop the intuition (rather than memorization) in relating the two forms of a dot product (by an angle theta between the vectors and by the components of the vector ). For ...
14
votes
4answers
711 views

Vector Spaces: Redundant Axiom?

Question Why are the axioms for vector space independent? More precisely $1x=x$ seems redundant... (I take the axioms from: Wikipedia) Explanation One has for zero vector: ...
14
votes
3answers
51k views

How to tell if a set of vectors spans a space?

I want to know if the set $\{(1, 1, 1), (3, 2, 1), (1, 1, 0), (1, 0, 0)\}$ spans $\mathbb{R}^3$. I know that if it spans $\mathbb{R}^3$, then for any $x, y, z, \in \mathbb{R}$, there exist $c_1, c_2, ...
14
votes
3answers
603 views

Pathologies in module theory

Linear algebra is a very well-behaved part of mathematics. Soon after you have mastered the basics you got a good feeling for what kind of statements should be true -- even if you are not familiar ...
14
votes
4answers
4k views

How to understand dot product is the angle's cosine?

How can one see that a dot product gives the angle's cosine between two vectors. (assuming they are normalized) Thinking about how to prove this in the most intuitive way resulted in proving a ...
14
votes
2answers
482 views

Geometric interpretation of the cofactor expansion theorem

I find the geometric interpretation of determinants to be really intuitive - they are the "area" created by the column vectors of the matrix. Could someone give me a geometric interpretation of the ...
14
votes
2answers
3k views

Understanding isomorphic equivalences of tensor product

I get some big picture of tensor and tensor product by reading their Wikipedia articles, and several questions and answers posted before by others. But I cannot figure out how to show the following ...
14
votes
1answer
4k views

Effect of elementary row operations on determinant?

1) Switching two rows or columns causes the determinant to switch sign 2) Adding a multiple of one row to another causes the determinant to remain the same 3) Multiplying a row as a constant results ...
13
votes
6answers
374 views

Other guises for the vector space $\mathbb{R}^n$?

One way the vector space $\mathbb{R}^n$ can come up is as the space of polynomials over $\mathbb{R}$ of degree at most $(n-1)$ . Here we have the isomorphism: $$(a_0,a_1,\ldots,a_{n-1}) ...
13
votes
5answers
1k views

Why is one proof for Cauchy-Schwarz inequality easy, but directly it is hard?

Let's say you are in $\mathbb{R}^n$ and you define the norm as $||x||=\sqrt{x_1^2+x_2^2...+x_n^2}$. This we recognize as the usual norm from the inner product: $||x|| = \sqrt{\langle x, x \rangle}$, ...
13
votes
2answers
341 views

Finite dimensional subspace of $C([0,1])$

Let linear $S$ be a subspace of $C([0,1])$, i.e., the continuous real-valued functions on $[0,1]$. Assume that there exists $c>0$, such that $\|\,f\|_\infty\leq c \|\,f\|_2$, for all $f\in ...
13
votes
1answer
322 views

Do you need the Axiom of Choice to assert that every real vector space has a norm?

Math people: This question is 95% answered (the first answer) at Does every $\mathbb{R},\mathbb{C}$ vector space have a norm? and Vector Spaces and AC . The questions, answers, and links found there ...
13
votes
2answers
331 views

Is every vector space basis for $\mathbb{R}$ over the field $\mathbb{Q}$ a nonmeasurable set?

The existence of subsets of the real line which are not Lebesgue measurable can be argued using the Axiom of Choice. For example, define an equivalence relation on $[0, 1]$ by $a \thicksim b$ if and ...
13
votes
0answers
252 views

How do I find the common invariant subspaces of a span of matrices?

Let $G_1, \ldots, G_n$ be a set of $m\times m$ linearly-independent complex matrices. Let $\mathcal{G} = \operatorname{span}\left\{ G_1, \ldots , G_n\right\}$ be the vector space that spans the set ...
12
votes
4answers
865 views

Why is an infinite dimensional space so different than a finite dimensional one?

In functional analysis there is a big difference between finite- and infinite-dimensional vector spaces. I have found other questions with nice answers here and here. However, I don't grasp the ...
12
votes
1answer
662 views

Why it is important for isomorphism between vector space and its double dual space to be natural?

I'm reading the book (by A. Kostrikin) on linear algebra and I feel like I'm really missing something about this idea. I understand the formal proofs of: a) isomorphism between vector space $V$ and ...
12
votes
2answers
2k 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 ...
12
votes
2answers
3k views

Cosine similarity / distance and triangle equation

There is a similarity function particular popular for processing sparse vectors such as textual data (word frequency counts etc.) commonly referred to as cosine similarity. There are two variants to ...
11
votes
7answers
1k views

A linear operator commuting with all such operators is a scalar multiple of the identity.

The question is from Axler's "Linear Algebra Done Right", which I'm using for self-study. We are given a linear operator $T$ over a finite dimensional vector space $V$. We have to show that $T$ is a ...
11
votes
7answers
1k views

Why a subspace of a vector space is useful

I'm in a linear algebra class and am having a hard time wrapping my head around what subspaces of a vector space are useful for (among many other things!). My understanding of a vector space is that, ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Do I understand metric tensor correctly?

So I've been studying vectors and tensors, and I'm trying to understand metric tensors. As I understand them, besides a vast array of explanations, they provide an invariant distance between vectors ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

Linear independence of functions

I want to determine whether 3 functions are linearly independent: \begin{align*} x_1(t) = 3 \\ x_2(t) = 3\sin^2(t) \\ x_3(t) = 4\cos^2(t) \end{align*} Definition of Linear Independence: $c_1x_1 + ...
11
votes
1answer
2k views

Transpose of a linear mapping

There seems to be two kinds of transposes of a linear mapping: If $f: V→W$ is a linear map between vector spaces $V$ and $W$ with nondegenerate bilinear forms, we define the transpose of $f$ ...
11
votes
1answer
196 views

Orientation on finite dimensional vector spaces over finite fields.

For finite-dimensional $\mathbb R$-vector spaces, we define an orientation to be an equivalence class of ordered bases, where $B_1 \sim B_2$ iff the change of basis matrix $A$ taking $B_{1}$ to ...
11
votes
1answer
214 views

$5$ dimensional space over $\mathbb{R}$

When coming up with a double cover of $SO(5)$, I used conjugation by matrices of the form $$\begin{pmatrix} r & q\\ \overline{q} & r \end{pmatrix}$$ where $r\in\mathbb{R}$ and $q$ is a ...
10
votes
5answers
5k views

What are some examples of infinite dimensional vector spaces?

I would like to have some examples of infinite dimensional vector spaces that help me to break my habit of thinking of $R^n$ when thinking about vector spaces.
10
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3answers
3k views

Question about basis and finite dimensional vector space

I have seen the statement "Every finite dimensional vector space has a basis." (Here on page 5) I'm confused about what this tells me. It seems to tell me nothing: by definition, the dimension of a ...