Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Levi-Civita symbol for cross products?

  1. Aug 24, 2014 #1
    Hi. Is using the Levi-Civita symbol to calculate cross-product combos like A x (B x C) allot faster than just using the good old determinant method?

    I ask because my lecturer in electrodynamics 2 told us it is better, but it seems to me that it's going to cost me time to learn to use this method efficiently (it took me over 20 minutes to do a triple cross product with it!). Will the pay-off be worth the practice?
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 24, 2014 #2


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    It may not seem useful to you right now, but it really is. Try to learn it.
  4. Aug 24, 2014 #3


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Once you've learned how to handle ##\varepsilon_{ijk}\varepsilon_{ijl}## and ##\varepsilon_{ijk}\varepsilon_{ilm}##, and that if ##S_{jk}=S_{kj}## then ##\varepsilon_{ijk}S_{jk}=0##, you will find it much easier to work with the Levi-Civita symbol than any other method. It's definitely worth the effort. It's not a very big effort, since those three things I mentioned are the only basic results you need to know.
  5. Sep 4, 2014 #4
    Not sure about A × (B × C), but for A ⋅ (B × C) 3-dimensional Levi-Civita symbol with its 6 non-zero components, if used once as εijkAiBjCk, and (expanded) formula for rank-3 determinant, are the same thing.

    As a general remark, not Levi-Civita vs matrix methods makes the difference, but now exactly the algorithm arranges calculation of the cubic polynomial(s) on components for given type of triple product.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2014
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook