Instructional Materials in Physics and Astronomy



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From Study Modules for Calculus-Based General Physics
Copyright © 1975 CBP Workshop, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.
Reproduction rights granted.


How much is A times B? This is a simple question to answer when A and B represent scalars; however, when A and B represent vectors, the answer is not obvious. In fact, on the face of it, one cannot even say whether the result should be a scalar or a vector!

Several different definitions of vector multiplication have been found useful in physics; in this module you will study two types: the scalar and vector products. Just to sharpen your interest, we point out that the vector product has the strange but useful property that A × B = –B × A !

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