Sum of Two VectorsDate: 9/10/96 at 16:8:11 From: Anonymous Subject: Sum of Two Vectors My daughter is having trouble learning about vectors. How do I explain the concept that the sum of two vectors a+b can be equal to or less than the sum of vector a + vector b ? To put it another way |a + b| <= |a| + |b|. I tried to explain it in terms of force being applied in the same direction, vs. in slightly different directions. However, no success yet. Is there an easier way to express or prove this relation to be true ? Date: 9/10/96 at 18:48:24 From: Doctor Tom Subject: Re: Sum of Two Vectors I'd avoid a concept like "force," which may seem vague to her. Why not this: I start at home and walk 3 miles in a fixed direction. Then I walk 4 miles in a fixed direction, but not necessarily in the same direction as the first walk. How far from home am I? It's easy to draw pictures with vectors to see all the possibilities. If you happened to continue in exactly the same direction, you'd be 7 miles away, but it should be clear that every other path will wind up closer than 7 miles. In fact, if you happen to make a 180 degree turn, you'll only wind up a mile from home. -Doctor Tom, The Math Forum Check out our web site! http://mathforum.org/dr.math/ |
Search the Dr. Math Library: |
[Privacy Policy] [Terms of Use]
Ask Dr. Math^{TM}
© 1994- The Math Forum at NCTM. All rights reserved.
http://mathforum.org/dr.math/