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dividing vectors

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Poirot

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Feb 15, 2012
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If P,Q,R,S are 4 points in R^2 then we have the lines PQ and RS. How do we define $\frac{PQ}{RS}$ ?
 

chisigma

Well-known member
Feb 13, 2012
1,704
If P,Q,R,S are 4 points in R^2 then we have the lines PQ and RS. How do we define $\frac{PQ}{RS}$ ?
It is well known that there are two different vector products: the scalar product and the vectorial product. If we hypothise to define a sort of 'inverse vector' we must distinguish between 'scalar inverse' and 'vectorial inverse'. The scalar inverse seems to be reasonably comfortable to manage... the vectorial inverse probably is a little problematic to manage...


Kind regards


$\chi$ $\sigma$
 
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chisigma

Well-known member
Feb 13, 2012
1,704
The dot product of two vectors X and Y is defined as...

$\displaystyle X \cdot Y = |X|\ |Y|\ \cos \theta$ (1)

... where $\theta$ is the angle between vectors and |*| is the norm. Let's suppose that the 'scalar inverse' of a vector X can be defined as a vector $X^{-1}$ so that is...

$\displaystyle X \cdot X^{-1} = 1$ (2)

It is almost immediate that $X^{-1}$ in that case is not univocally defined because different combinations of $|X^{-1}|$ and $\theta$ can satisfy (2)... it seems that we are not on the right way! (Malthe)...

Kind regards

$\chi$ $\sigma$
 
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Poirot

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Feb 15, 2012
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look up ceva's theorem on wikipedia. That's what I'm on about.
 

Evgeny.Makarov

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MHB Math Scholar
Jan 30, 2012
2,492
look up ceva's theorem on wikipedia. That's what I'm on about.
Wikipedia says the following about Menelaus' theorem, which is similar.
This equation uses signed lengths of segments, in other words the length AB is taken to be positive or negative according to whether A is to the left or right of B in some fixed orientation of the line. For example, AF/FB is defined as having positive value when F is between A and B and negative otherwise.
So, it involves ratios of signed segment lengths.
 

Ackbach

Indicium Physicus
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Jan 26, 2012
4,193
If P,Q,R,S are 4 points in R^2 then we have the lines PQ and RS. How do we define $\frac{PQ}{RS}$ ?
Maybe I'm missing something here, but it looks to me like $PQ$ is the length of the vector from point $P$ to point $Q$, and $RS$ is the length of the vector from point $R$ to point $S$. Then the fraction $(PQ)/(RS)$ is normal real division: one length divided by another. $PQ$ is a common, though not, to my mind, the best, notation for the length of that line segment.

Is there more context to the problem?
 

Evgeny.Makarov

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MHB Math Scholar
Jan 30, 2012
2,492
In Menelaus' theorem, the product of ratios is -1, so these are directed lengths, not simple lengths.
 
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Poirot

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Feb 15, 2012
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Yes this is a simple misunderstanding of notation.
 

Ackbach

Indicium Physicus
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Jan 26, 2012
4,193
Yes this is a simple misunderstanding of notation.
If you mean I'm misunderstanding the notation, then I would claim the notation is atrocious. I know for a fact that I have seen this notation used for the simple length of a line segment.

Perhaps you could use something like $\overset{\pm}{\overline{PQ}}$?
 

Poirot

Banned
Feb 15, 2012
250
You are misunderstanding now, I was referring to myself.