







4 by 4 determinants 
20080627 

From rav: How to solve problems of determinants which has four rows and four columns& please give me easy tips to solve permutations and combinations problems. Answered by Harley Weston. 





Determinants 
20080502 

From Henry: I have a question about solving 3x3 matrices.
The traditional way, or at least the way I've been taught, is that if one has a 3x3 matrix such as:
[ a b c ]
[ d e f ]
[ g h i ]
one solves it according to this formula:
[ei  hf)  (bi  hc) + (bf  ec) = determinant.
According to a book I'm now studying to prepare for the California CSET exam, there is another, easier, way to solve it:
[ a b c ] [ a b ]
[ d e f ] [ d e ]
[ g h i ] [ g h ]
In other words, one repeats the first two rows of the matrix and adds them to the right.
At this point, the determinant is calculated thus:
(aei) +(bfg) + (cdh)  (gec)  (hfa)  (idb).
Is this, in fact, correct? Answered by Harley Weston. 





Expanding determinants using minors 
20010220 

From A student: Question: 1) Determinants by expansion by minors. i)  1 2 1 2 1   1 0 0 1 0   0 1 1 0 1   1 1 2 2 1   0 1 1 0 2  Answered by Harley Weston. 





order 4+ determinants 
19991206 

From Joe Kron: Why is it never shown how to calculate the value of 4x4 (or larger size) deteminants by the diagonal multiply methods that are generally shown for 2x2 and 3x3 determinants? The method I'm talking about is called Cramer's Rule??? Is this method not extensible to order 4+ and if not why not? Anyway the method always shown for order 4+ is called "reduction by minors" which is not the answer to this question. Answered by Walter Whiteley. 





Area of a triangle from vertex coordinates 
19990421 

From Mark Tyler: I'm no schoolkid, but I liked your answers about triangles. You might enjoy a quick look at this, the kids may too. I was working on a Voronoi dual where I had to calculate the areas of very many triangles expressed as vertex coordinates, so I derived the following very direct formula: A = abs((x1x2)*(y1y3)(y1y2)*(x1x3)) for triangle (x1,y1)(x2,y2)(x3,y3) I've never seen this in a textbook. Is it original? I doubt it, the proof is only a few lines long. Regardless, it may be fun for the kids, even if it's not on the curriculum. Answered by Walter Whitley. 





Intersection of Planes 
19981203 

From Lindsay Fear: My name is Lindsay Fear. I am an OAC student (which is the Ontario equivalent to Grade 12 in most other states and provinces). I am in an Algebra and Geometry course and am currently studying a unit on equations of planes. Our teacher has given us this question that my friend and I have attempted several times, but we are still unable to solve it. My teacher has also suggested using the internet as a resource. The question is: Prove that a necessary condition that the three planes x + ay + bz = 0 ax  y + cz = 0 bx + cy  z = 0 have a line in common is that a^2 + b^2 + c^2 + 2abc = 1 Answered by Walter Whiteley. 





Matrice 
20060201 

From Kader: mon probleme est le suivant soit deux matrices carrees A et B d'ordre n qui sont anticommutatives AB= BA , demontrer que au moins une des deux matrices n'est pas inversible si n est impair.
je n'arrive pas a utiliser le fait que n soit impair, trouver le rapport entre n impair et inverse des matrices, je pars sur la base de DETAB=DETA*DETB Answered by Claude Tardif. 

