Oxford Linear Algebra: What is a Vector Space?

University of Oxford mathematician Dr Tom Crawford explains the vector space axioms with concrete examples. Check out ProPrep with a 30-day free trial to see how it can help you to improve your performance in STEM-based subjects – join here.

The video begins by introducing the vector space axioms. We first define the addition and scalar multiplication maps, before listing the 8 axioms that must be satisfied: commutativity of addition, associativity of addition, the existence of an identity element, the existence of additive inverses, distributivity of scalar multiplication over addition, distributivity of scalar multiplication over field addition, interaction of scalar multiplication and field multiplication, and the existence of an identity for scalar multiplication. Each axiom is then verified for 3D coordinate vectors as a canonical example. Finally, further properties of vector spaces are discussed, such as the uniqueness of identity elements and inverses. A full proof using the axioms is provided to show the additive identity is unique.

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