Non-zero solution of a homogenous system

  • Thread starter sunny110
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Hi,
Could anyone give me a proof for the following theorem?
Theorem : Ax=0 has a non-trivial solution iff det(A)=0

Thanks in advance.
/Sunny
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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You will find the proof in books such as "Linear Algebra" by Lang. I suggest you check out that book.
 
  • #3
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This is easier to understand if you think about the geometric meaning of a determinant.

A matrix [itex]A[/itex] represents a linear transformation in a given basis. The determinant is a property of the matrix, but it's also a property of the linear transformation it represents, independently of any basis. The determinant is simply the signed volume change of the volume element.

Now we can see what a zero determinant means: it means the transformed volume element is zero. This transformation has squished it down into a lower-dimensional subspace, which means the mapped basis vectors can't be linearly independent. That means there's a nontrivial linear combination of basis vectors which maps to 0. In other words, there must be some [itex]x[/itex] in this basis such that [itex]Ax = 0[/itex].
 

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