Vectors and Scalars

  • Thread starter AnthreX
  • Start date
47
0
whats the difference between

Vectors and Scalars

thanx
 

HallsofIvy

Science Advisor
Homework Helper
41,728
881
Open a book on vectors and read the definitions!

I'm not (just) being facetious. There are several different ways of looking at, and thinking about, vectors and the answer to your question depends upon which one you mean.

In the simplest sense (what I think of as the "Physics" definition) vectors are things that have both a numerical value and a "direction". Scalars are simply numbers. One defines "scalar multiplication", multiplying a scalar by a vector, as multiplying the numerical value of the vector by the scalar (so we are multiplying a number by a number) while leaving the direction of the vector unchanged.

That's probably the definition you want.
 
47
0
ohhh i c...

thanx
 
Scalars are magnitude
Vectors are magnitude AND direction.
The major difference is how they are added and subtracted, but thats another story......
 
43
1
Vectors are magnitude AND direction.
The notion of vector really encompasses much, much more than this. Essentially, vectors are any mathematical objects that can be combined linearly to still produce more of the same kind of objects. That so, there are plenty of examples of vectors that don't present any notion of "direction" (or even "magnitude" -- not all vector spaces have norms.) The space of continuous functions on the interval [-1,1] is a vector space, but it would be hard to say that the functions that comprise it have a "magnitude and direction."
 

Related Threads for: Vectors and Scalars

  • Last Post
3
Replies
61
Views
10K
  • Last Post
Replies
24
Views
28K
  • Last Post
Replies
16
Views
3K
Replies
4
Views
618
  • Last Post
Replies
12
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
9
Views
7K
  • Last Post
Replies
10
Views
488
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
2K
Top