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What's the pattern here?

  1. Feb 24, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    Alright so apparently there is some pattern in finding these determinants:

    for the 2x2, the determinant of
    |1 1|
    |x y| is y - x

    for 3x3, the determinant of

    |1 1 1 |
    |x y z |
    |x^2, y^2, z^2| xy^2 - yx^2 - xz^2 +zx^2 + yz^2 - zy^2

    Apparently that can be factored (not sure how), and using the roots, there will be a pattern that you can observe for finding a determinant of a 4x4, 5x5, etc of the same form (1, x, x^2, x^3, etc.)

    How do you factor the 3x3 determinant, and what is the pattern?

  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 24, 2009 #2


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    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Suppose you set x=y. What's the determinant of the matrix? What does this tell you about the factorization of the determinant polynomial? Now set x=z...
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