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Date: 12/8/2004

How can matrices relate to the 4th dimension?

A matrix is a set of numbers in a pattern that relates one set of dimensions to another. A 4-by-4 matrix can transform one 4 dimensional quantity (a space-time vector) into another. It can also be used as part of a relationship between two 4 dimensional objects, acting very much like a fancy multiplication. Because matrices are a general mathematical form, they can actually relate to anything that is at least two-dimensional.

Dr. Ken Mellendorf
Physics Instructor
Illinois Central College

They are only loosely connected. A matrix is a mathematical entity: an array of numbers containing 'n' rows and 'm' columns that obeys certain algebraic rules of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. The algebra of matrices makes them useful in a wide variety of applications in the physical sciences and engineering. There is no special connection to the dimensionality of a space.

Vince Calder

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