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Homework Help: Linear Algebra - Polynomial Subsets of Subspaces

  1. Feb 16, 2010 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Which one of the following subsets of [tex]P_{2}[/tex] (degree of 2 or below) are subspaces?
    a) [tex]a_{2}t^{2} + a_{1}t + a_{0}[/tex], where [tex] a_{1} = 0[/tex] and [tex]a_{0} = 0[/tex]
    b) [tex]a_{2}t^{2} + a_{1}t + a_{0}[/tex], where [tex]a_{1} = 2a_{0}[/tex]
    c) [tex]a_{2}t^{2} + a_{1}t + a_{0}[/tex], where [tex]a_{2} + a_{1} + a_{0} = 2[/tex]

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution

    First of all I don't even know if the question means only ONE of the three choices is a subspace, or whether I have to decide whether each of them are subspaces or not.

    I know that in order for a subset to be a subspace, it must be closed under addition and multiplication.

    a) would only have [tex]a_{2}t^{2}[/tex], but doesn't have the other degrees... is it not a subspace then? It is closed under addition ([tex](a_{2}+a_{2})t^{2})[/tex] and and multiplication. Is the question implying the coefficient a2 doesn't change? So you can't have (a2)t^2 + (-a2)t^2 = 0 right?

    b) I have all the terms for each degree, so I'm guessing it is a subspace?

    c) I have no clue how to do this one. My guess is that I can factor out the 2 and it becomes 2([tex]t^{2} + t + 1[/tex]), but if I add two of these together, I would get 4([tex]t^{2} + t + 1[/tex]), so don't know if that is still in the subspace... does the scalar in front matter or not?
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2010
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 16, 2010 #2


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    Staff Emeritus
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    Gold Member

    Don't guess: appeal to definitions and theorems! They give you a specific list of things to check, right? You say "it must be closed under addition and multiplication". What does that actually mean?

    Is that really the exact statement of the problem? It looks very sloppy to me. :frown: What they mean is surely something like:

    a) The set of all vectors of the form a2t2 + a1t1 + a0 (where a2, a1, and a0 are scalar-valued dummy variables) for which a1 = 0 and a0 = 0.
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