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Homework Help: LINEAR ALGEBRA: nontrivial solutions

  1. Feb 6, 2008 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    I am asked to find all the values of "b" for which the following system has a nontrivial (i.e non-zero solution).

    2. Relevant equations
    bx1 - bx3 = 0
    x1 + (b+1)x2 + 2x3 = 0
    bx1 + (2b+2) x2 = 0

    3. The attempt at a solution
    I know that I am needing to solve for the equations so that I dont' end up with a row of all zeroes.
    But I am just confused as to where to start. Because I have a bunch of different variables, and I dont know if I should assign parameters to begin with or not?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 6, 2008 #2

    Dr Transport

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    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    write as a matrix with x1, x2, and x3 factored out then find the determinant of the result.
  4. Feb 7, 2008 #3
    thank you!
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