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A point P in the space (resp. in the plane) can be associated to an ordered 3-tuple of

real numbers (x1 , x2 , x3 ) (resp. an ordered pair (x1 , x2 )) via the Cartesian coordinate

system. The Cartesian coordinate system consists of three mutually perpendicular

number lines (resp. two mutually perpendicular number lines, if it is in the plane),

called the x-axis, y-axis and the z-axis, whose origins coincides at a single point,

called the origin of the coordinate system. Click here to see the picture and the

explanation of the Cartesian coordinate system. Hence, we write the space as R3 =

{(x1 , x2 , x3 ); x1 , x2 , x3 ∈ R} (resp. the plane as R2 = {(x1 , x2 ); x1 , x2 ∈ R}), where

R is the set of real numbers. In this course, we usually do not distinguish the point

P and the ordered 3-tuple of real numbers (x1 , x2 , x3 ).

2 Vectors in R3

A vector is a line segment with a direction. A point P = (x1 , x2 , x3 ) uniquely cor-

responds to v = OP ~ , which visualized geometrically as the arrow pointing from the

origin O to the point P . In this way, there is one-to-one correspondence between

the vectors v in R3 and the points P ∈ R3 (as well as an ordered 3-tuple of real

numbers (x1 , x2 , x3 )). In this course, we usually do not distinguish the point P ,

an ordered 3-tuple of real numbers (x1 , x2 , x3 ), as well as the vector v. We also

use R3 to denote the set of vectors v in the space. On R3 , we can do addition

v + w = (x1 + y1 , x2 + y2 , x3 + y3 ), if v = (x1 , x2 , x3 ), w = (y1 , y2 , y3 ), and scalar

multiplication λv = (λx1 , λx2 , λx3 ) if v = (x1 , x2 , x3 ). The set R3 forms a vector

space with the addition and scalar multiplication defined above.

q

kvk = x21 + x22 + x23 .

1

3 The dot product in R3

Definition 1.2 The dot product of two vectors v = (x1 , x2 , x3 ), w = (y1 , y2 , y3 ) is

defined as

v · w = x 1 y1 + x2 y2 + x3 y3 .

(a) kvk2 = v · v;

(b) v · w = kvkkwk cos θ, where θ is angle between v and w;

(c) v · w = 0 if and only if v and w are orthogonal;

(d) |v · w| ≤ kvkkwk (Schwarz inequality);

(e) v · w = w · v;

(f) u · (v + w) = u · v + u · w;

(g) kv + wk ≤ kvk + kwk (the triangle inequality).

Definition 1.3 The cross product of two vectors v = (x1 , x2 , x3 ), w = (y1 , y2 , y3 )

is the vector given by

v × w = (x2 y3 − x3 y2 , x3 y1 − x1 y3 , x1 y2 − x2 y1 ).

satisfies the right-hand rule(Click here to see the right-hand rule);

(b) v × w = −w × v, in particular v × v = 0;

(c) If the vectors are both nonzero, then

kv × wk = kvkkwk sin θ,

(d) v × w = 0 if and only if v and w are linearly dependent;

(e) |u · (v × w)| is the volume of a parallelepiped spanned by the vectors u, v

and w.

2

Let i = (1, 0, 0), j = (0, 1, 0), k = (0, 0, 1). Then we have (called the right-hand

rule)(Click here to see the right-hand rule)

(1.1) i × j = k, k × i = j, j × k = i.

We can use (1.1) to calculate the cross product. For example, to calculate v × w

for v = (1, 2, 3), w = (2, 5, 1), we write v = i + 2j + 3k, w = 2i + 5j + k, then, using

(1.1) and the fact that i × i = j × j = k × k = 0, we have

= 5i × bf j + i × k + 4j × i + 2j × k + 6k × i + 15k × j

= 5k − j − 4k + 2i + 6j − 15i

= −13i + 5j + k.

functions

A vector valued function u(t) in R3 assignes, for each t ∈ [a, b] a unique vector value

u(t) ∈ R3 . Hence

u(t) = (x1 (t), x2 (t), x3 (t)), t ∈ [a, b],

where x1 , x2 , x3 are functions of variable t. We define the diifferentiation of u(t) as

du(t)

u0 (t) = = (x01 (t), x02 (t), x03 (t)).

dt

We recall the following differentiation rules for vector valued functions:

(f (t)u(t))0 = f (t)u0 (t) + f 0 (t)u(t)

(u(t) · v(t))0 = u(t) · v0 (t) + u0 (t) · v(t)

(u(t) × v(t))0 = u(t) × v0 (t) + u0 (t) × v(t)

[u(f (t))]0 = f 0 (t)u0 (f (t)).

3

Similarily, we define the integration of u(t) over [a, b] as

!

Z b Z b Z b Z b

u(t)dt = x1 (t)dt, x2 (t)dt, x3 (t)dt .

a a a a

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