#1
Dec1803, 07:43 AM

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????




#2
Dec1803, 07:52 AM

Sci Advisor
P: 875

The simplest definition is "forming a right angle".
When you get to multidimensional space, vectors are orthoganal if they have finite magnitude and no projection on each other. It is also used figuratively. Ideas are orthoganal if they take different but noncompeting paths to solving the same problem. Njorl 



#3
Dec1803, 12:39 PM

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P: 1,772

THe word "perpendicular" has replaced "orthogonal" in everyday use. Perpendicular is supposed to mean specifically "vertical," but it has come to mean "at a right angle to." "Normal" is another word that often replaces orthogonal in physics. I think that "orthogonal" is still the preferred word used by mathematicians? Calculus was the only place I remember using it.




#4
Dec1803, 12:45 PM

Sci Advisor
P: 875

What does 'orthogonal' mean???
I always hated that use of "normal". Later, you get into probabiity functions where normal has a different meaning  that the sum of all probabilities adds up to one. Such a function is normalized. Then there are orthonormal bases, a sets of mutually orthoganal unit vectors that completely define a space. That other definition of normal makes them a little more confusing.
Just one of my pet peeves. That, and using gothic letters for statistical mechanics. [!:)] Njorl 



#5
Dec1803, 01:00 PM

P: 454




#6
Dec1803, 01:01 PM

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P: 1,772

You just revived a twenty year old pain at the top of my head! 



#7
Dec1803, 01:55 PM

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Njorl 



#8
Dec1803, 05:53 PM

Mentor
P: 7,292

The formal definition of Orthogonal is
[tex] A \cdot B = 0 \mbox{and} A > 0, B>0 [/tex] To me normal is 3d perpendicular, a line is NORMAL to a plane but it is perpendicular to a second line. Example, if I balance a pencil on its tip on a desk top the pencil is NORMAL to the desk. If I lay 2 pencils on the desk top and arrange them so the form a right angle they are perpendicular. Perpendicular => 2d Normal =>Nd (N>=3) I on the other hand have always liked the term "Normal". Cus when I drill a hole at some weird angle, I can say "Well I have never been Normal" [:)] 


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