Given vector $\mathbf a = -2\hat i + \hat j + \hat k$ and $\mathbf b = \hat i - 3\hat j + \hat k.$
Find the vector of length $5$ perpendicular to the plane containing vector $\mathbf a$ and $\mathbf b$. I have worked out the perpendicular of $\mathbf a$ and $\mathbf b$, the vector is $4\hat i + 3\hat j + 5\hat k$. But I do not know how to find the vector with length $5$.

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  • $\begingroup$ Hint: Do you know how to calculate the length of the vector you have identified ? $\endgroup$ – Tom Collinge May 9 '14 at 14:00
  • $\begingroup$ multiply your vector by some unknown constant $a$. Calculate the norm of this vector: $\sqrt{av\cdot av}$ and set it equal to 5 and find the constant $a$. $\endgroup$ – JEM May 9 '14 at 14:00

If you have a vector $v$, you can find a vector $w$ of length $\ell$ in the same direction as $v$ by writing $w=\ell v/\|v\|$. The quantity $\|v\|$ is the length of $v$ (in Euclidean space you can compute this using the Pythagorean Theorem), so $v/\|v\|$ has length $1$, so $\ell v/\|v\|$ has length $\ell$.

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