Geometrically, we know that two vectors are perpendicular if the Pythagorean Theorem holds, i.e. the square of the length of (a,b,c) plus the square of the length of (x,y,z) equals the square of the length of (a,b,c) - (x,y,z) = (a-x,b-y,c-z). This means that a^{2} + b^{2} + c^{2} + x^{2} + y^{2} + z^{2} = (a-x)^{2} + (b-y)^{2} + (c-z)^{2} = a^{2} - 2ax + x^{2} + b^{2} - 2by + y^{2} + c^{2} - 2cz + z^{2}. From this it follows that0 = -2ax - 2by - 2cz , soax + by + cz = 0 . Thus two vectors in R^{3} are perpendicular if and only if their dot product is zero.
Mathematics Awareness Month is sponsored each year by the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics to recognize the importance of mathematics through written materials and an accompanying poster that highlight mathematical developments and applications in a particular area. |