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

I What does this vector notation mean?

  1. Nov 13, 2017 #1
    Hello,

    I'm currently doing vectors in class, but I don't know what these parts mean.

    Especially φ(a,b). I understand cos(φ), but I don't understand cos(φ(a,b)). φ is the angle between two vectors a and b, but what does the (a,b) part add?

    I tried to google, but I couldn't really find anything helpful. Again, I'm not interested in proof or anything of the likes right now. For now I am just trying to decipher the symbols so I understand what I am doing.

    Thanks in advance for the help.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 13, 2017 #2
    The (##\vec a, \vec b##) part just informs someone that the angle φ is the angle between the vectors a and b (without the obligation to write it in words) as you correctly said.
     
  4. Nov 13, 2017 #3

    fresh_42

    User Avatar
    2017 Award

    Staff: Mentor

    It is simply rigor. ##\varphi (\vec{a},\vec{b})## is what you wrote: angle ##\varphi ## between ##\vec{a}## and ##\vec{b}##. As the angle depends on the vectors, and the order, it is simply the precise way to write it, so ##\varphi = \varphi (\vec{a},\vec{b})##.
    The other marked notation means: If ##\vec{a}=(a_1,\ldots ,a_n)## in coordinates, then for the length of the vector ##|\vec{a}|^2 = a_1^2+\ldots + a_n^2##. It's the theorem of Pythagoras.
     
  5. Nov 13, 2017 #4
    Thanks, both of you. :)
     
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?
Draft saved Draft deleted