Questions tagged [linear-algebra]

For questions related to linear mappings, matrices, basis, determinants, eigenvalues and other topics commonly done in a linear algebra course.

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20 votes
6 answers

Is there a good way to explain determinants in an elementary linear algebra class?

Many colleges offer an an elementary linear algebra class for sophomore math, science, and economics majors. Such a class typically covers a chapter on determinants, including the following aspects: ...
Jim Belk's user avatar
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25 votes
13 answers

What is a good motivation/showcase for a student for the study of eigenvalues?

Courses about linear algebra make great demands on looking for eigenvalues and transforming matrices to diagonal matrices (or, at least, to Jordan normal form). This is somehow a technical, recipe-...
Markus Klein's user avatar
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13 votes
14 answers

What is the best way to intuitively explain what eigenvectors and eigenvalues are, AND their importance?

How can we break down the complexity of eigenvalues/vectors to something that is more intuitive for students. I feel like the proofy way isn't a good intuitive representation of the mechanism that ...
David BasedMathematician Coven's user avatar
32 votes
12 answers

Should college mathematics always be taught in such a way that real world applications are always included?

I am teaching Linear Algebra this semester with the textbook Introduction to Linear Algebra by Serge Lang and most (perhaps all?) my students are not majoring in mathematics. As I was carefully ...
Zuriel's user avatar
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16 votes
7 answers

Why do we teach that every line is a linear function?

Teaching my precalculus class today, I noticed something very simple that I hadn't taken into account previously. The definition in our textbook read: "A linear function is a function defined by ...
Andrew's user avatar
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15 votes
5 answers

Should the cross-product in $\mathbb{R}^3$ be discussed in Linear Algebra?

I have not yet taught Linear Algebra, but I teach Computer Graphics regularly, which uses linear algebra at many junctures, and uses concepts such as the cross product. I have often been disappointed ...
Joseph O'Rourke's user avatar
15 votes
6 answers

How to get students in a under-graduate linear algebra course interested in determinants?

Before teaching the chapter on determinants in a linear-algebra course for beginning undergraduate students (mathematics and computer science, more specifically) I would like to give a small ...
quid's user avatar
  • 7,622
14 votes
2 answers

When is a good time to teach linear algebra?

When I was a student (in the 1970s) I was taught linear algebra as an "adjunct" to "engineering mathematics" such as differential equations. That was during my sophomore year, which seems a bit late, ...
Tom Au's user avatar
  • 1,508
11 votes
4 answers

Notation for change of basis matrix

As far as I can tell, it's only a slight exaggeration to say that every text has a different notation for a change of basis matrix from (say) $\mathcal{B}$ to $\mathcal{C}$. That's not even to talk ...
kcrisman's user avatar
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10 votes
2 answers

Textbook for 2nd linear algebra course

I am teaching (for the first time) a 2nd course in linear algebra. The students will have had a beginning course in linear algebra and a beginning course in abstract algebra. I am considering Hoffman ...
Angela's user avatar
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