Oxford Linear Algebra: Basis, Spanning and Linear Independence

University of Oxford mathematician Dr Tom Crawford explains the terms basis, spanning and linear independence in the context of vectors and vector spaces. Check out ProPrep with a 30-day free trial to see how it can help you to improve your performance in STEM-based subjects.

The video begins with an intuitive example of a basis via the vector space of polynomials up to degree n. We then give the formal definition of a basis as a spanning set of linearly independent vectors. The terms spanning and linear independence are then formally defined with examples given for each. We also show the definition of linear independence is equivalent to showing that the only solution to a linear combination of the vectors being equal to zero is for all of the coefficients to be zero. Linear dependence is defined as the lack of linear independence, or when a vector in a set can be written as a linear combination of the other vectors in the set. Finally, we move on to a series of worked examples, beginning with several possible bases for the Cartesian plane R^2. We then look at examples of linearly independent and linearly dependent sets of vectors, and how to show this is the case. Finally, we construct two possible bases for 3D space R^3.