- #1

- 1

- 0

- Thread starter MNskating
- Start date

- #1

- 1

- 0

- #2

- 298

- 80

- #3

jtbell

Mentor

- 15,614

- 3,638

I think of it as similar to the difference between a (real) number and the number line; or the difference between a complex number and the complex (Argand) plane.What is the difference between a vector and a vector space?

As andresB noted, the 3-d spatial vectors that we learn about in intro physics classes are only one example of the more abstract mathematical concept of "vector". The set of all 3-d spatial vectors is a vector space, but it's not the only vector space.

Knowing that some set of mathematical objects and their associated operations form a vector space is useful, because you can use your experience with other vector spaces to guide you in working with them. When I was first learning quantum mechanics as an undergraduate, it was a big "aha!" moment for me when I saw that integrals like $$\int{\psi_1^*(x)\psi_2(x)dx}$$ were like vector dot products ##\vec v_1 \cdot \vec v_2##, etc.

- #4

mathman

Science Advisor

- 7,858

- 446

- #5

bhobba

Mentor

- 9,475

- 2,559

You need to study linear algebra. But since this is the quantum physics sub-forum doing it using the bra-ket notation will prepare you for its use in QM:What is the difference between a vector and a vector space? I get that a vector is an object with both magnitude and direction, but am confused by the term "vector space". Does a vector space simply refer to a collection of vectors?

http://galileo.phys.virginia.edu/classes/751.mf1i.fall02/751LinearAlgebra.pdf

Thanks

Bill