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Math Help - [SOLVED] Zero vectors.

  1. #1
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    [SOLVED] Zero vectors.

    By definition (probably a limited one because this is an intro course to linear algebra) the zero vector is perpendicular to any vector (this is because zero vector dot any other vector gives a dot product of zero).

    So, am I right to say that the zero vector is just a point in n-dimensional space?

    If this is so, then is the zero vector perpendicular to the zero vector? By the definition from above it is, but if the zero vector is a point in n-dimensional space then how is one point perpendicular to another point?

    Admittedly I have made the assumption that the zero vector is a point in space with no directionality. If this is not the case, then please tell me what the zero vector is (in your explanation keep in mind that I am a biochemist taking this course as an interesting elective and as such my mathematical knowledge is limited).

    Thanks!
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  2. #2
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    As I understand it, the correspondence between the zero vector and the origin (0,0,...,0) in n-dimensional space arises when realising an abstract vector space with a coordinate system - in your case R^n.

    It is useful to think intuitively of the zero vector as the point at the origin, and the distinction between them is blurred when talking about R^n. However it is when you start talking about abstract vector spaces that the notion of the zero vector as a point is no longer applicable, because "points" as you imagine them in R^n do not really exist any longer.
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