In mathematics, the cross product or vector product (occasionally directed area product, to emphasize its geometric significance) is a binary operation on two vectors in three-dimensional space , and is denoted by the symbol . Given two linearly independent vectors a and b, the cross product, a × b (read "a cross b"), is a vector that is perpendicular to both a and b, and thus normal to the plane containing them. It has many applications in mathematics, physics, engineering, and computer programming. It should not be confused with the dot product (projection product).
If two vectors have the same direction or have the exact opposite direction from each other (that is, they are not linearly independent), or if either one has zero length, then their cross product is zero.More generally, the magnitude of the product equals the area of a parallelogram with the vectors for sides; in particular, the magnitude of the product of two perpendicular vectors is the product of their lengths.
The cross product is anticommutative (that is, a × b = − b × a) and is distributive over addition (that is, a × (b + c) = a × b + a × c). The space together with the cross product is an algebra over the real numbers, which is neither commutative nor associative, but is a Lie algebra with the cross product being the Lie bracket.
Like the dot product, it depends on the metric of Euclidean space, but unlike the dot product, it also depends on a choice of orientation or "handedness". The product can be generalized in various ways; it can be made independent of orientation by changing the result to a pseudovector, or the exterior product of vectors can be used in arbitrary dimensions with a bivector or 2-form result. Also, using the orientation and metric structure just as for the traditional 3-dimensional cross product, one can, in n dimensions, take the product of n − 1 vectors to produce a vector perpendicular to all of them. But if the product is limited to non-trivial binary products with vector results, it exists only in three and seven dimensions. (See § Generalizations, below, for other dimensions.)
The cross product of two vectors a and b is defined only in three-dimensional space and is denoted by a × b. In physics and applied mathematics, the wedge notation a ∧ b is often used (in conjunction with the name vector product), although in pure mathematics such notation is usually reserved for just the exterior product, an abstraction of the vector product to n dimensions.
The cross product a × b is defined as a vector c that is perpendicular (orthogonal) to both a and b, with a direction given by the right-hand rule and a magnitude equal to the area of the parallelogram that the vectors span.
The cross product is defined by the formula
If the vectors a and b are parallel (that is, the angle θ between them is either 0° or 180°), by the above formula, the cross product of a and b is the zero vector 0.
By convention, the direction of the vector n is given by the right-hand rule, where one simply points the forefinger of the right hand in the direction of a and the middle finger in the direction of b. Then, the vector n is coming out of the thumb (see the adjacent picture). Using this rule implies that the cross product is anti-commutative; that is, b × a = −(a × b). By pointing the forefinger toward b first, and then pointing the middle finger toward a, the thumb will be forced in the opposite direction, reversing the sign of the product vector.
As the cross product operator depends on the orientation of the space (as explicit in the definition above), the cross product of two vectors is not a "true" vector, but a pseudovector. See § Handedness for more detail.
In 1881, Josiah Willard Gibbs, and independently Oliver Heaviside, introduced both the dot product and the cross product using a period (a . b) and an "x" (a x b), respectively, to denote them.
In 1877, to emphasize the fact that the result of a dot product is a scalar while the result of a cross product is a vector, William Kingdon Clifford coined the alternative names scalar product and vector product for the two operations.These alternative names are still widely used in the literature.
Both the cross notation (a × b) and the name cross product were possibly inspired by the fact that each scalar component of a × b is computed by multiplying non-corresponding components of a and b. Conversely, a dot product a ⋅ b involves multiplications between corresponding components of a and b. As explained below, the cross product can be expressed in the form of a determinant of a special 3 × 3 matrix. According to Sarrus's rule, this involves multiplications between matrix elements identified by crossed diagonals.
The standard basis vectors i, j, and k satisfy the following equalities in a right hand coordinate system:
which imply, by the anticommutativity of the cross product, that
The anticommutativity of the cross product (and the obvious lack of linear independence) also implies that
These equalities, together with the distributivity and linearity of the cross product (but neither follows easily from the definition given above), are sufficient to determine the cross product of any two vectors a and b. Each vector can be defined as the sum of three orthogonal components parallel to the standard basis vectors:
Their cross product a × b can be expanded using distributivity:
This can be interpreted as the decomposition of a × b into the sum of nine simpler cross products involving vectors aligned with i, j, or k. Each one of these nine cross products operates on two vectors that are easy to handle as they are either parallel or orthogonal to each other. From this decomposition, by using the above-mentioned equalities and collecting similar terms, we obtain:
meaning that the three scalar components of the resulting vector s = s1i + s2j + s3k = a × b are
Using column vectors, we can represent the same result as follows:
The cross product can also be expressed as the formal determinant:
This determinant can be computed using Sarrus's rule or cofactor expansion. Using Sarrus's rule, it expands to
Using cofactor expansion along the first row instead, it expands to
which gives the components of the resulting vector directly.
The latter formula avoids having to change the orientation of the space when we inverse an orthonormal basis.
The magnitude of the cross product can be interpreted as the positive area of the parallelogram having a and b as sides (see Figure 1):
Indeed, one can also compute the volume V of a parallelepiped having a, b and c as edges by using a combination of a cross product and a dot product, called scalar triple product (see Figure 2):
Since the result of the scalar triple product may be negative, the volume of the parallelepiped is given by its absolute value. For instance,
Because the magnitude of the cross product goes by the sine of the angle between its arguments, the cross product can be thought of as a measure of perpendicularity in the same way that the dot product is a measure of parallelism. Given two unit vectors, their cross product has a magnitude of 1 if the two are perpendicular and a magnitude of zero if the two are parallel. The dot product of two unit vectors behaves just oppositely: it is zero when the unit vectors are perpendicular and 1 if the unit vectors are parallel.
Unit vectors enable two convenient identities: the dot product of two unit vectors yields the cosine (which may be positive or negative) of the angle between the two unit vectors. The magnitude of the cross product of the two unit vectors yields the sine (which will always be positive).
If the cross product of two vectors is the zero vector (that is, a × b = 0), then either one or both of the inputs is the zero vector, (a = 0 or b = 0) or else they are parallel or antiparallel (a ∥ b) so that the sine of the angle between them is zero (θ = 0° or θ = 180° and sin θ = 0).
The self cross product of a vector is the zero vector:
The cross product is anticommutative,
distributive over addition,
and compatible with scalar multiplication so that
It is not associative, but satisfies the Jacobi identity:
Distributivity, linearity and Jacobi identity show that the R3 vector space together with vector addition and the cross product forms a Lie algebra, the Lie algebra of the real orthogonal group in 3 dimensions, SO(3). The cross product does not obey the cancellation law; that is, a × b = a × c with a ≠ 0 does not imply b = c, but only that:
This can be the case where b and c cancel, but additionally where a and b − c are parallel; that is, they are related by a scale factor t, leading to:
for some scalar t.
If, in addition to a × b = a × c and a ≠ 0 as above, it is the case that a ⋅ b = a ⋅ c then
As b − c cannot be simultaneously parallel (for the cross product to be 0) and perpendicular (for the dot product to be 0) to a, it must be the case that b and c cancel: b = c.
From the geometrical definition, the cross product is invariant under proper rotations about the axis defined by a × b. In formulae:
More generally, the cross product obeys the following identity under matrix transformations:
where is a 3-by-3 matrix and is the transpose of the inverse and is the cofactor matrix. It can be readily seen how this formula reduces to the former one if is a rotation matrix.
The cross product of two vectors lies in the null space of the 2 × 3 matrix with the vectors as rows:
For the sum of two cross products, the following identity holds:
The product rule of differential calculus applies to any bilinear operation, and therefore also to the cross product:
where a and b are vectors that depend on the real variable t.
The cross product is used in both forms of the triple product. The scalar triple product of three vectors is defined as
It is the signed volume of the parallelepiped with edges a, b and c and as such the vectors can be used in any order that's an even permutation of the above ordering. The following therefore are equal:
The vector triple product is the cross product of a vector with the result of another cross product, and is related to the dot product by the following formula
The mnemonic "BAC minus CAB" is used to remember the order of the vectors in the right hand member. This formula is used in physics to simplify vector calculations. A special case, regarding gradients and useful in vector calculus, is
where ∇2 is the vector Laplacian operator.
Other identities relate the cross product to the scalar triple product:
where I is the identity matrix.
The cross product and the dot product are related by:
The right-hand side is the Gram determinant of a and b, the square of the area of the parallelogram defined by the vectors. This condition determines the magnitude of the cross product. Namely, since the dot product is defined, in terms of the angle θ between the two vectors, as:
the above given relationship can be rewritten as follows:
Invoking the Pythagorean trigonometric identity one obtains:
which is the magnitude of the cross product expressed in terms of θ, equal to the area of the parallelogram defined by a and b (see definition above).
The combination of this requirement and the property that the cross product be orthogonal to its constituents a and b provides an alternative definition of the cross product.
can be compared with another relation involving the right-hand side, namely Lagrange's identity expressed as:
where a and b may be n-dimensional vectors. This also shows that the Riemannian volume form for surfaces is exactly the surface element from vector calculus. In the case where n = 3, combining these two equations results in the expression for the magnitude of the cross product in terms of its components:
The same result is found directly using the components of the cross product found from:
In R3, Lagrange's equation is a special case of the multiplicativity |vw| = |v||w| of the norm in the quaternion algebra.
It is a special case of another formula, also sometimes called Lagrange's identity, which is the three dimensional case of the Binet–Cauchy identity:
If a = c and b = d this simplifies to the formula above.
The cross product conveniently describes the infinitesimal generators of rotations in R3. Specifically, if n is a unit vector in R3 and R(φ, n) denotes a rotation about the axis through the origin specified by n, with angle φ (measured in radians, counterclockwise when viewed from the tip of n), then
for every vector x in R3. The cross product with n therefore describes the infinitesimal generator of the rotations about n. These infinitesimal generators form the Lie algebra so(3) of the rotation group SO(3), and we obtain the result that the Lie algebra R3 with cross product is isomorphic to the Lie algebra so(3).
The vector cross product also can be expressed as the product of a skew-symmetric matrix and a vector:
where superscript T refers to the transpose operation, and [a]× is defined by:
The columns [a]×,i of the skew-symmetric matrix for a vector a can be also obtained by calculating the cross product with unit vectors. That is,
where is the outer product operator.
Also, if a is itself expressed as a cross product:
|Proof by substitution|
|Evaluation of the cross product gives |
Hence, the left hand side equals
Now, for the right hand side,
And its transpose is
Evaluation of the right hand side gives
Comparison shows that the left hand side equals the right hand side.
This result can be generalized to higher dimensions using geometric algebra. In particular in any dimension bivectors can be identified with skew-symmetric matrices, so the product between a skew-symmetric matrix and vector is equivalent to the grade-1 part of the product of a bivector and vector.In three dimensions bivectors are dual to vectors so the product is equivalent to the cross product, with the bivector instead of its vector dual. In higher dimensions the product can still be calculated but bivectors have more degrees of freedom and are not equivalent to vectors.
This notation is also often much easier to work with, for example, in epipolar geometry.
From the general properties of the cross product follows immediately that
and from fact that [a]× is skew-symmetric it follows that
The above-mentioned triple product expansion (bac–cab rule) can be easily proven using this notation.
As mentioned above, the Lie algebra R3 with cross product is isomorphic to the Lie algebra so(3), whose elements can be identified with the 3×3 skew-symmetric matrices. The map a → [a]× provides an isomorphism between R3 and so(3). Under this map, the cross product of 3-vectors corresponds to the commutator of 3x3 skew-symmetric matrices.
|Matrix conversion for cross product with canonical base vectors|
|Denoting with the -th canonical base vector, the cross product of a generic vector with is given by: , where |
These matrices share the following properties:
The orthogonal projection matrix of a vector is given by . The projection matrix onto the orthogonal complement is given by , where is the identity matrix. For the special case of , it can be verified that
For other properties of orthogonal projection matrices, see projection (linear algebra).
The cross product can alternatively be defined in terms of the Levi-Civita symbol εijk and a dot product ηmi (= δmi for an orthonormal basis), which are useful in converting vector notation for tensor applications:
where the indices correspond to vector components. This characterization of the cross product is often expressed more compactly using the Einstein summation convention as
in which repeated indices are summed over the values 1 to 3. This representation is another form of the skew-symmetric representation of the cross product:
In classical mechanics: representing the cross product by using the Levi-Civita symbol can cause mechanical symmetries to be obvious when physical systems are isotropic. (An example: consider a particle in a Hooke's Law potential in three-space, free to oscillate in three dimensions; none of these dimensions are "special" in any sense, so symmetries lie in the cross-product-represented angular momentum, which are made clear by the abovementioned Levi-Civita representation).[ citation needed ]
The word "xyzzy" can be used to remember the definition of the cross product.
The second and third equations can be obtained from the first by simply vertically rotating the subscripts, x → y → z → x. The problem, of course, is how to remember the first equation, and two options are available for this purpose: either to remember the relevant two diagonals of Sarrus's scheme (those containing i), or to remember the xyzzy sequence.
Since the first diagonal in Sarrus's scheme is just the main diagonal of the above-mentioned 3×3 matrix, the first three letters of the word xyzzy can be very easily remembered.
Similarly to the mnemonic device above, a "cross" or X can be visualized between the two vectors in the equation. This may be helpful for remembering the correct cross product formula.
If we want to obtain the formula for we simply drop the and from the formula, and take the next two components down:
When doing this for the next two elements down should "wrap around" the matrix so that after the z component comes the x component. For clarity, when performing this operation for , the next two components should be z and x (in that order). While for the next two components should be taken as x and y.
For then, if we visualize the cross operator as pointing from an element on the left to an element on the right, we can take the first element on the left and simply multiply by the element that the cross points to in the right hand matrix. We then subtract the next element down on the left, multiplied by the element that the cross points to here as well. This results in our formula –
We can do this in the same way for and to construct their associated formulas.
The cross product has applications in various contexts. For example, it is used in computational geometry, physics and engineering. A non-exhaustive list of examples follows.
The cross product appears in the calculation of the distance of two skew lines (lines not in the same plane) from each other in three-dimensional space.
The cross product can be used to calculate the normal for a triangle or polygon, an operation frequently performed in computer graphics. For example, the winding of a polygon (clockwise or anticlockwise) about a point within the polygon can be calculated by triangulating the polygon (like spoking a wheel) and summing the angles (between the spokes) using the cross product to keep track of the sign of each angle.
In computational geometry of the plane, the cross product is used to determine the sign of the acute angle defined by three points and . It corresponds to the direction (upward or downward) of the cross product of the two coplanar vectors defined by the two pairs of points and . The sign of the acute angle is the sign of the expression
which is the signed length of the cross product of the two vectors.
In the "right-handed" coordinate system, if the result is 0, the points are collinear; if it is positive, the three points constitute a positive angle of rotation around from to , otherwise a negative angle. From another point of view, the sign of tells whether lies to the left or to the right of line
The cross product is used in calculating the volume of a polyhedron such as a tetrahedron or parallelepiped.
The angular momentum L of a particle about a given origin is defined as:
where r is the position vector of the particle relative to the origin, p is the linear momentum of the particle.
In the same way, the moment M of a force FB applied at point B around point A is given as:
In mechanics the moment of a force is also called torque and written as
Since position r, linear momentum p and force F are all true vectors, both the angular momentum L and the moment of a force M are pseudovectors or axial vectors.
The cross product frequently appears in the description of rigid motions. Two points P and Q on a rigid body can be related by:
where is the point's position, is its velocity and is the body's angular velocity.
Since position and velocity are true vectors, the angular velocity is a pseudovector or axial vector.
The cross product is used to describe the Lorentz force experienced by a moving electric charge qe:
Since velocity v, force F and electric field E are all true vectors, the magnetic field B is a pseudovector.
In vector calculus, the cross product is used to define the formula for the vector operator curl.
The trick of rewriting a cross product in terms of a matrix multiplication appears frequently in epipolar and multi-view geometry, in particular when deriving matching constraints.
The cross product can be defined in terms of the exterior product. It can be generalized to an external product in other than three dimensions. [ which? ] allows for a natural geometric interpretation of the cross product. In exterior algebra the exterior product of two vectors is a bivector. A bivector is an oriented plane element, in much the same way that a vector is an oriented line element. Given two vectors a and b, one can view the bivector a ∧ b as the oriented parallelogram spanned by a and b. The cross product is then obtained by taking the Hodge star of the bivector a ∧ b, mapping 2-vectors to vectors:This view
This can be thought of as the oriented multi-dimensional element "perpendicular" to the bivector. Only in three dimensions is the result an oriented one-dimensional element – a vector – whereas, for example, in four dimensions the Hodge dual of a bivector is two-dimensional – a bivector. So, only in three dimensions can a vector cross product of a and b be defined as the vector dual to the bivector a ∧ b: it is perpendicular to the bivector, with orientation dependent on the coordinate system's handedness, and has the same magnitude relative to the unit normal vector as a ∧ b has relative to the unit bivector; precisely the properties described above.
When physics laws are written as equations, it is possible to make an arbitrary choice of the coordinate system, including handedness. One should be careful to never write down an equation where the two sides do not behave equally under all transformations that need to be considered. For example, if one side of the equation is a cross product of two polar vectors, one must take into account that the result is an axial vector. Therefore, for consistency, the other side must also be an axial vector.[ citation needed ] More generally, the result of a cross product may be either a polar vector or an axial vector, depending on the type of its operands (polar vectors or axial vectors). Namely, polar vectors and axial vectors are interrelated in the following ways under application of the cross product:
Because the cross product may also be a polar vector, it may not change direction with a mirror image transformation. This happens, according to the above relationships, if one of the operands is a polar vector and the other one is an axial vector (e.g., the cross product of two polar vectors). For instance, a vector triple product involving three polar vectors is a polar vector.
A handedness-free approach is possible using exterior algebra.
Let (i, j,k) be an orthonormal basis. The vectors i, j and k don't depend on the orientation of the space. They can even be defined in the absence of any orientation. They can’t therefore be axial vectors. But if i and j are polar vectors then k is an axial vector for i×j = k or j×i = k. This is a paradox.
"Axial" and "polar" are physical qualifiers for physical vectors; that is, vectors which represent physical quantities such as the velocity or the magnetic field. The vectors i, j and k are mathematical vectors, neither axial nor polar. In mathematics, the cross-product of two vectors is a vector. There is no contradiction.
There are several ways to generalize the cross product to the higher dimensions.
The cross product can be seen as one of the simplest Lie products, and is thus generalized by Lie algebras, which are axiomatized as binary products satisfying the axioms of multilinearity, skew-symmetry, and the Jacobi identity. Many Lie algebras exist, and their study is a major field of mathematics, called Lie theory.
For example, the Heisenberg algebra gives another Lie algebra structure on In the basis the product is
The cross product can also be described in terms of quaternions. In general, if a vector [a1, a2, a3] is represented as the quaternion a1i + a2j + a3k, the cross product of two vectors can be obtained by taking their product as quaternions and deleting the real part of the result. The real part will be the negative of the dot product of the two vectors.
A cross product for 7-dimensional vectors can be obtained in the same way by using the octonions instead of the quaternions. The nonexistence of nontrivial vector-valued cross products of two vectors in other dimensions is related to the result from Hurwitz's theorem that the only normed division algebras are the ones with dimension 1, 2, 4, and 8.
In general dimension, there is no direct analogue of the binary cross product that yields specifically a vector. There is however the exterior product, which has similar properties, except that the exterior product of two vectors is now a 2-vector instead of an ordinary vector. As mentioned above, the cross product can be interpreted as the exterior product in three dimensions by using the Hodge star operator to map 2-vectors to vectors. The Hodge dual of the exterior product yields an (n − 2)-vector, which is a natural generalization of the cross product in any number of dimensions.
The exterior product and dot product can be combined (through summation) to form the geometric product in geometric algebra.
As mentioned above, the cross product can be interpreted in three dimensions as the Hodge dual of the exterior product. In any finite n dimensions, the Hodge dual of the exterior product of n − 1 vectors is a vector. So, instead of a binary operation, in arbitrary finite dimensions, the cross product is generalized as the Hodge dual of the exterior product of some given n − 1 vectors. This generalization is called external product.
Interpreting the three-dimensional vector space of the algebra as the 2-vector (not the 1-vector) subalgebra of the three-dimensional geometric algebra, where , , and , the cross product corresponds exactly to the commutator product in geometric algebra and both use the same symbol . The commutator product is defined for 2-vectors and in geometric algebra as:
where is the geometric product.
The commutator product could be generalised to arbitrary multivectors in three dimensions, which results in a multivector consisting of only elements of grades 1 (1-vectors/true vectors) and 2 (2-vectors/pseudovectors). While the commutator product of two 1-vectors is indeed the same as the exterior product and yields a 2-vector, the commutator of a 1-vector and a 2-vector yields a true vector, corresponding instead to the left and right contractions in geometric algebra. The commutator product of two 2-vectors has no corresponding equivalent product, which is why the commutator product is defined in the first place for 2-vectors. Furthermore, the commutator triple product of three 2-vectors is the same as the vector triple product of the same three pseudovectors in vector algebra. However, the commutator triple product of three 1-vectors in geometric algebra is instead the negative of the vector triple product of the same three true vectors in vector algebra.
Generalizations to higher dimensions is provided by the same commutator product of 2-vectors in higher-dimensional geometric algebras, but the 2-vectors are no longer pseudovectors. Just as the commutator product/cross product of 2-vectors in three dimensions correspond to the simplest Lie algebra, the 2-vector subalgebras of higher dimensional geometric algebra equipped with the commutator product also correspond to the Lie algebras.Also as in three dimensions, the commutator product could be further generalised to arbitrary multivectors.
In the context of multilinear algebra, the cross product can be seen as the (1,2)-tensor (a mixed tensor, specifically a bilinear map) obtained from the 3-dimensional volume form,a (0,3)-tensor, by raising an index.
In detail, the 3-dimensional volume form defines a product by taking the determinant of the matrix given by these 3 vectors. By duality, this is equivalent to a function (fixing any two inputs gives a function by evaluating on the third input) and in the presence of an inner product (such as the dot product; more generally, a non-degenerate bilinear form), we have an isomorphism and thus this yields a map which is the cross product: a (0,3)-tensor (3 vector inputs, scalar output) has been transformed into a (1,2)-tensor (2 vector inputs, 1 vector output) by "raising an index".
Translating the above algebra into geometry, the function "volume of the parallelepiped defined by " (where the first two vectors are fixed and the last is an input), which defines a function , can be represented uniquely as the dot product with a vector: this vector is the cross product From this perspective, the cross product is defined by the scalar triple product,
In the same way, in higher dimensions one may define generalized cross products by raising indices of the n-dimensional volume form, which is a -tensor. The most direct generalizations of the cross product are to define either:
These products are all multilinear and skew-symmetric, and can be defined in terms of the determinant and parity.
The -ary product can be described as follows: given vectors in define their generalized cross product as:
This is the unique multilinear, alternating product which evaluates to , and so forth for cyclic permutations of indices.
In coordinates, one can give a formula for this -ary analogue of the cross product in Rn by:
This formula is identical in structure to the determinant formula for the normal cross product in R3 except that the row of basis vectors is the last row in the determinant rather than the first. The reason for this is to ensure that the ordered vectors (v1, ..., vn−1, Λn–1
i=0vi) have a positive orientation with respect to (e1, ..., en). If n is odd, this modification leaves the value unchanged, so this convention agrees with the normal definition of the binary product. In the case that n is even, however, the distinction must be kept. This -ary form enjoys many of the same properties as the vector cross product: it is alternating and linear in its arguments, it is perpendicular to each argument, and its magnitude gives the hypervolume of the region bounded by the arguments. And just like the vector cross product, it can be defined in a coordinate independent way as the Hodge dual of the wedge product of the arguments.
In 1773, Joseph-Louis Lagrange introduced the component form of both the dot and cross products in order to study the tetrahedron in three dimensions. [0, u] and [0, v], where u and v are vectors in R3, their quaternion product can be summarized as [−u ⋅ v, u × v]. James Clerk Maxwell used Hamilton's quaternion tools to develop his famous electromagnetism equations, and for this and other reasons quaternions for a time were an essential part of physics education.In 1843, William Rowan Hamilton introduced the quaternion product, and with it the terms "vector" and "scalar". Given two quaternions
In 1878 William Kingdon Clifford published his Elements of Dynamic which was an advanced text for its time. He defined the product of two vectorsto have magnitude equal to the area of the parallelogram of which they are two sides, and direction perpendicular to their plane.
Oliver Heaviside and Josiah Willard Gibbs also felt that quaternion methods were too cumbersome, often requiring the scalar or vector part of a result to be extracted. Thus, about forty years after the quaternion product, the dot product and cross product were introduced — to heated opposition. Pivotal to (eventual) acceptance was the efficiency of the new approach, allowing Heaviside to reduce the equations of electromagnetism from Maxwell's original 20 to the four commonly seen today.
Largely independent of this development, and largely unappreciated at the time, Hermann Grassmann created a geometric algebra not tied to dimension two or three, with the exterior product playing a central role. In 1853 Augustin-Louis Cauchy, a contemporary of Grassmann, published a paper on algebraic keys which were used to solve equations and had the same multiplication properties as the cross product.Clifford combined the algebras of Hamilton and Grassmann to produce Clifford algebra, where in the case of three-dimensional vectors the bivector produced from two vectors dualizes to a vector, thus reproducing the cross product.
The cross notation and the name "cross product" began with Gibbs. Originally they appeared in privately published notes for his students in 1881 as Elements of Vector Analysis. The utility for mechanics was noted by Aleksandr Kotelnikov. Gibbs's notation and the name "cross product" later reached a wide audience through Vector Analysis, a textbook by Edwin Bidwell Wilson, a former student. Wilson rearranged material from Gibbs's lectures, together with material from publications by Heaviside, Föpps, and Hamilton. He divided vector analysis into three parts:
First, that which concerns addition and the scalar and vector products of vectors. Second, that which concerns the differential and integral calculus in its relations to scalar and vector functions. Third, that which contains the theory of the linear vector function.
Two main kinds of vector multiplications were defined, and they were called as follows:
Several kinds of triple products and products of more than three vectors were also examined. The above-mentioned triple product expansion was also included.
In physics, the Lorentz transformations are a six-parameter family of linear transformations from a coordinate frame in spacetime to another frame that moves at a constant velocity relative to the former. The respective inverse transformation is then parameterized by the negative of this velocity. The transformations are named after the Dutch physicist Hendrik Lorentz.
In mathematics, the tensor product of two vector spaces V and W is a vector space which can be thought of as the space of all tensors that can be built from vectors from its constituent spaces using an additional operation which can be considered as a generalization and abstraction of the outer product. Because of the connection with tensors, which are the elements of a tensor product, tensor products find uses in many areas of application including in physics and engineering, though the full theoretical mechanics of them described below may not be commonly cited there. For example, in general relativity, the gravitational field is described through the metric tensor, which is a field of tensors, one at each point in the space-time manifold, and each of which lives in the tensor self-product of tangent spaces at its point of residence on the manifold.
In mathematics, physics and engineering, a Euclidean vector or simply a vector is a geometric object that has magnitude and direction. Vectors can be added to other vectors according to vector algebra. A Euclidean vector is frequently represented by a ray, or graphically as an arrow connecting an initial pointA with a terminal pointB, and denoted by .
In mathematics, particularly in linear algebra, matrix multiplication is a binary operation that produces a matrix from two matrices. For matrix multiplication, the number of columns in the first matrix must be equal to the number of rows in the second matrix. The resulting matrix, known as the matrix product, has the number of rows of the first and the number of columns of the second matrix. The product of matrices A and B is denoted as AB.
In mathematics, the dot product or scalar product is an algebraic operation that takes two equal-length sequences of numbers, and returns a single number. In Euclidean geometry, the dot product of the Cartesian coordinates of two vectors is widely used. It is often called "the" inner product of Euclidean space, even though it is not the only inner product that can be defined on Euclidean space.
In linear algebra, Cramer's rule is an explicit formula for the solution of a system of linear equations with as many equations as unknowns, valid whenever the system has a unique solution. It expresses the solution in terms of the determinants of the (square) coefficient matrix and of matrices obtained from it by replacing one column by the column vector of right-hand-sides of the equations. It is named after Gabriel Cramer (1704–1752), who published the rule for an arbitrary number of unknowns in 1750, although Colin Maclaurin also published special cases of the rule in 1748.
Unit quaternions, known as versors, provide a convenient mathematical notation for representing spatial orientations and rotations of elements in three dimensional space. Specifically, they encode information about an axis-angle rotation about an arbitrary axis. Rotation and orientation quaternions have applications in computer graphics, computer vision, robotics, navigation, molecular dynamics, flight dynamics, orbital mechanics of satellites, and crystallographic texture analysis.
In mathematics, the exterior product or wedge product of vectors is an algebraic construction used in geometry to study areas, volumes, and their higher-dimensional analogues. The exterior product of two vectors and , denoted by , is called a bivector and lives in a space called the exterior square, a vector space that is distinct from the original space of vectors. The magnitude of can be interpreted as the area of the parallelogram with sides and , which in three dimensions can also be computed using the cross product of the two vectors. More generally, all parallel plane surfaces with the same orientation and area have the same bivector as a measure of their oriented area. Like the cross product, the exterior product is anticommutative, meaning that for all vectors and , but, unlike the cross product, the exterior product is associative.
In mathematics, the Heisenberg group, named after Werner Heisenberg, is the group of 3×3 upper triangular matrices of the form
In linear algebra, a square matrix with complex entries is said to be skew-Hermitian or anti-Hermitian if its conjugate transpose is the negative of the original matrix. That is, the matrix is skew-Hermitian if it satisfies the relation
In linear algebra and functional analysis, a projection is a linear transformation from a vector space to itself such that . That is, whenever is applied twice to any value, it gives the same result as if it were applied once (idempotent). It leaves its image unchanged. Though abstract, this definition of "projection" formalizes and generalizes the idea of graphical projection. One can also consider the effect of a projection on a geometrical object by examining the effect of the projection on points in the object.
In numerical linear algebra, a Givens rotation is a rotation in the plane spanned by two coordinates axes. Givens rotations are named after Wallace Givens, who introduced them to numerical analysts in the 1950s while he was working at Argonne National Laboratory.
In linear algebra, linear transformations can be represented by matrices. If is a linear transformation mapping to and is a column vector with entries, then
In geometry and algebra, the triple product is a product of three 3-dimensional vectors, usually Euclidean vectors. The name "triple product" is used for two different products, the scalar-valued scalar triple product and, less often, the vector-valued vector triple product.
In mathematics, the kernel of a linear map, also known as the null space or nullspace, is the linear subspace of the domain of the map which is mapped to the zero vector. That is, given a linear map L : V → W between two vector spaces V and W, the kernel of L is the vector space of all elements v of V such that L(v) = 0, where 0 denotes the zero vector in W, or more symbolically:
In mathematics, the seven-dimensional cross product is a bilinear operation on vectors in seven-dimensional Euclidean space. It assigns to any two vectors a, b in a vector a × b also in . Like the cross product in three dimensions, the seven-dimensional product is anticommutative and a × b is orthogonal both to a and to b. Unlike in three dimensions, it does not satisfy the Jacobi identity, and while the three-dimensional cross product is unique up to a sign, there are many seven-dimensional cross products. The seven-dimensional cross product has the same relationship to the octonions as the three-dimensional product does to the quaternions.
In multilinear algebra, a multivector, sometimes called Clifford number, is an element of the exterior algebra Λ(V) of a vector space V. This algebra is graded, associative and alternating, and consists of linear combinations of simplek-vectors of the form
In geometry, various formalisms exist to express a rotation in three dimensions as a mathematical transformation. In physics, this concept is applied to classical mechanics where rotational kinematics is the science of quantitative description of a purely rotational motion. The orientation of an object at a given instant is described with the same tools, as it is defined as an imaginary rotation from a reference placement in space, rather than an actually observed rotation from a previous placement in space.
In mathematics, specifically multilinear algebra, a dyadic or dyadic tensor is a second order tensor, written in a notation that fits in with vector algebra.
Geometric algebra is an extension of vector algebra, providing additional algebraic structures on vector spaces, with geometric interpretations.
If one requires only three basic properties of the cross product ... it turns out that a cross product of vectors exists only in 3-dimensional and 7-dimensional Euclidean space.
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