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A line is determined by two points and . The following applet illustrates this simple idea. You can change the position of the line by moving the red or the green point with the mouse. Dragging with the mouse elsewhere rotates the picture.

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You can drag the tips of the vectors to change the line. check out this page. we'll think of it as being determined by a point and a vector parallel to the line.Parametrization of a line . Unfortunately. since we are in three dimensions. (If you don't believe this statement. First. we'll write a parametrization for the line. We could visualize the new perspective with the following applet. 2 of 6 8/15/2013 3:36 AM .Math Insight http://mathinsight. the arrowheads of vectors don't always stay visible. It's essentially identical to the above applet.) Instead. Before we continue. let's to change our perspective about the line. we can't write a single equation like to describe the line. However.) Second. (The vector could simply be the vector from the point to the point . rather than thinking of a line being determined by two points. we'll think of the point as the endpoint of a vector with tail at the origin.org/line_parametrization We want to write an equation for the line. We obtain a most consistent view by drawing vectors with dots for arrowheads. except that I've drawn in the vectors mentioned above.

3 of 6 8/15/2013 3:36 AM . the point is on the line if the vector from to (i. We represent a point on the line by the vector pictured in blue in the below applet.Math Insight http://mathinsight.org/line_parametrization Now we are ready to derive a condition for a point being on the line determined by and .Parametrization of a line . .) By the definition of our line. pictured in cyan below) is parallel to (in green). (We will refer to the point as being the endpoint of the vector when its tail is fixed at the origin.e.

We usually write this condition for being on the line as This equation is called the parametrization of the line.) Two vectors are parallel if one vector can be expressed as a scalar multiple of the other.org/line_parametrization What does it mean for two vectors to be parallel? (Note that we use the term “parallel” to include what you might think of as anti-parallel. To make visualization a little easier. we've changed the perspective so that now you control by moving the point on the slider. is parallel to if and only if for some . The idea of the parametrization is that as the parameter sweeps through all real numbers. we show only the endpoints of the vectors and . where is a free parameter that is allowed to be any real number. 4 of 6 8/15/2013 3:36 AM . So.Math Insight http://mathinsight. sweeps out the line. meaning pointing in opposite directions. In the last applet on this page.Parametrization of a line .

Math Insight http://mathinsight.Parametrization of a line . you can see examples of finding the parametrization of a line.org/line_parametrization If you want to read something more concrete about line parametrization. See also Parametrization of a line examples Go deeper An introduction to parametrized curves Parametrization of a plane Cite this as 5 of 6 8/15/2013 3:36 AM .

org/line_parametrization Nykamp DQ.Math Insight http://mathinsight. 6 of 6 8/15/2013 3:36 AM . please contact us.Parametrization of a line .” From Math Insight.org/line_parametrization Keywords: line. http://mathinsight. For permissions beyond the scope of this license.0 License. parametrization Parametrization of a line by Duane Q. “Parametrization of a line. Nykamp is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoncommercialShareAlike 3.

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Parametrization

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