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You are on page 1of 2

(pages 270-1)

One of the unexpected consequences of the ease with which one can compute a

determinant using elementary row operations is the fact that the determinant

preserves multiplication. That is det(AB) = (detA)(detB). It is not at all

obvious how these two facts are related, but the following Lemma gives you a

glimpse at the reason why.

Lemma 5.2.6: If E is an n n elementary matrix and C is any n n matrix,

then

det(EC) = (detE)(detC)

Proof of Lemma 5.2.6: Consider the three different types of elementary row

operation. If E corresponds to a row swap, then we can row reduce E to I

using the same row swap, and thus detE = detI = 1. And since EC is a

matrix obtained from C by a row swap, we know det(EC) = (1)(detC). Thus,

det(EC) = (1)(detC) = (detE)(detC).

Similarly, if E corresponds to multiplying a row by r, then we can row reduce

E to I by multiplying the same row by (1/r). Thus detI = (1/r)detE, or

detE = rdetI = r. And since EC is a matrix obtained from C by multiplying

a row by r, we know that det(EC) = r(detC). Thus, det(EC) = (r)(detC) =

(detE)(detC).

Finally, if E corresponds to adding a r times row i to row j, then we can row

reduce E to I by adding r times row i to row j. Since row operations of this

type do not change the determinant, we have detE = detI = 1. And since EC

is a matrix obtained from C by adding r times row i to row j, we have that

detC = det(EC). Thus, det(EC) = (1)(detC) = (detE)(detC).

So, no matter what type of elementary matrix E is, we have shown that det(EC) =

(detE)(detC).

Theorem 5.2.7: If A and B are n n matrices, then det(AB) = (detA)(detB)

Proof of Theorem 5.2.7: We break this proof into two cases: either A can be

written as a product of elementary matrices, or it cant.

Case 1A can be written as a product of elementary matrices: Let A = E1 Ek ,

where E1 , . . . , Ek are elementary matrices. Then

det(AB)

= det(E1 Ek B)

= (detE1 )(det(E2 Ek B))

=

= (detE1 )(detE2 ) (detEk )(detB)

= (det(E1 E2 ))(detE3 ) (detEk )(detB)

=

= (det(E1 Ek ))(detB)

= (detA)(detB)

Case 2A can not be written as a product of elementary matrices: Then the rank

of A is not n. Using the invertible matrix theorem, we get two facts. The first is

that A is not invertible, which means detA = 0, and thus that (detA)(detB) = 0.

The second is that the range of A (thinking of it as a linear mapping) is not Rn .

This means that there is some ~y Rn such that the equation A~z = ~y has no

solution. But this means that the equation A(B~x) = ~y cannot have a solution

(since if it did, B~x would be a ~z such that A~z = ~y ). And thus, (AB)~x = ~y does

not have a solution, so the range of AB is not Rn . And so, AB is not invertible,

and thus det(AB) = 0. But this means that det(AB) = 0 = (detA)(detB).

Note: The statement det(A + B) = det(A) + det(B) IS NOT TRUE.

5 0 1

2

4 2

2 , and B = 2 1 4 . Then:

Example: Let A = 0 5

6 3 6

0

8 4

7

4 2

0 5

0

6 , and

1 8 , and A + B = 2 4

And AB = 2

6 11

2

8 4

8

5

2

detA = (expanding along the first column) 2(1)1+1

+0+0 =

8 4

2(20 16) = 8

1+1 1 4

1+3 2 1

detB = (expanding along the first row) 5(1)

3 6 +0+(1)(1)

6 3

5(6 12) + (6 6) = 30

2 8

1+2

+0 =

det(AB) = (expanding along the first row) 0 + (5)(1)

8

8

5(16 64) = 240 = 8(30) = (detA)(detB).

1+1 4 6

1+2 2

det(A+B) = (expanding along the first row) 7(1)

11 2 +4(1)

6

2

4

= 7(8 66) 4(4 36) 2(22 + 24) = 518 + 128 92 =

2(1)1+3

6 11

482 6= 8 30.

2

6

2

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