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T HE U NIVERSITY OF S YDNEY

P URE M ATHEMATICS
Linear Mathematics

2016

Practice session 1 (Week 1) Solutions


1. Determine whether or not the vector

1
2
1

"

! "
1
4
7

can be written as a linear combination of the vectors

! "
2
5
8

! "
3
6 .

Solution The question asks whether or not we can find scalars a, b and c such that
! "
! " ! 1 "
! "
1
2
3
a 4 + b 5 + c 6 = 2 .
7

This equation is the same as the following system of simultaneous equations:


a + 2b + 3c = 1
4a + 5b + 6c = 2
7a + 8b + 9c = 1.

We use Gaussian elimination to reduce the augmented matrix to row echelon form:
# 1
4
7

2 3
5 6
8 9

1 $
2
1

R2 :=R2 4R1

R2 := 1 R2

3
R :=R R

2
33

# 1
0
7
# 1
0
0
#
1
0
0

2
3
1 $
3 6 6
1
8
9
2
3
1 $
1
2
2
6 12 6
$
2 3 1
1 2 2
0 0 1

R3 :=R3 7R1

R3 := 1 R3

# 1
0
0
# 1
0
0

2
3
1 $
3 6 6
6 12 6
2 3 1 $
1 2 2
1 2 1

The last line reads 0a + 0b + 0c = 1, so the original equation has no solution, and hence
! " ! " ! "
1
2
3
cannot be written as a linear combination of the vectors 4 , 5 , 6 .
7

1
2
1

"

2. Each of the following matrices is the reduced row echelon form of an augmented matrix corresponding to a system of linear equations in the variables xi , (where i = 1, 2, 3 in part a), and
i = 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 in part b)). (Both systems represented here have infinitely many solutions can
you say why?)
For each augmented matrix, determine the number of parameters needed to solve the system
and express the solution of the system in parametric form.

Math 2061: Practice session 1 (Week 1) Solutions

A.M. 23/2/2016

Linear Mathematics

a)

# 1
0
0

0 3
1 2
0 0

Practice session 1 (Week 1) Solutions

4 $
1
0

# 1 0
0 1
0 0

b)

Page 2

0 2 1 3 $
0 1 2
4
1 0
2 1

Solution Each matrix corresponds to a consistent system. (Why?)


Both systems have infinitely many solutions because, in each case, there is at least one column
(corresponding to a free variable), which is missing a leading 1.
a) The column corresponding to x3 is missing a leading 1. This is the only free variable
(or parameter) in the general solution to this system of equations. Let x3 = t. Then
x2 = 1 + 2t and x1 = 4 3t, where t R.
! 3 "
! x1 " ! 4 3t " ! 4 "
That is, xx2 = 1 + 2t = 1 + t 2 , where t R.
3

b) This time x4 and x5 are free variables. Let x4 = s, x5 = t (s, t R).


Then x3 = 1 2t, x2 = 4 + s 2t and x1 = 3 2s + t.
# $
# 1 $
# x $ # 3 2s +t $ # $
1

That is,

x2
x3
x4
x5

4 +s 2t
1
2t
s
t

3
4
1
0
0

+s

2
1
0
1
0

+t

2
2
0
1

, where s, t R.

% ! x1 " &
'
&
x2 & x1 , x2 , x3 R . Give a geometric interpretation of each of the
x3
3
following subsets of R and determine whether or not each subset is a vector space (under the
usual addition of vectors and multiplication by scalars).
&
&
'
% ! x1 "
% ! x1 "
'
3& 2
2
2
3&
x2
x2
x
x
+
x
+
x
=
1
b)
B
=
=
x
+
x
a) A =

R
&
&
1
2
3
1
2
3
x3
x3

3. Recall that R3 =

Solution
a) Consider the vectors in A as position vectors in three dimensional space, and associate a
point (x, y, z) with the head of each of those position vectors. Then A can be interpreted
as the set of points whose distance to the origin is 1 unit; that is, as the unit sphere in three
dimensional space.

! "
! "
1
0
The set A is not a vector space because, for example, 0 and 1 are in A but
0
0
! " ! " ! "
1
1
0
1
= 0 + 1 does not belong to A. Hence, A is not closed under addition.
0

Math 2061: Practice session 1 (Week 1) Solutions

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Linear Mathematics

Practice session 1 (Week 1) Solutions

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b) As in part a), we can associate a point (x, y, z) in three dimensional space with each of the
vectors in B. Hence, B can be interpreted as the set of points on the plane x y z = 0;
a plane that goes through the origin.
We claim that B is a vector space. To check this we have to verify that each of the vector
space axioms is satisfied.
!a"
!d"
A1 Suppose that bc B and e B. Then a b c = 0 and d e f = 0 so
f
! a+d "
(a + d) (b + e) (c + f ) = (a b c) + (d e f ) = 0. Hence, b+e B. Hence,
c+f
B is closed under addition.
A2 If u, v, w R3 then (u + v) + w = u + (v + w) so, in particular, this is true
when u, v, x B. Hence, addition is associative in B.
A3 If u, v R3 then u + v = v + u so, in particular, this is true when u, v B.
Hence, addition is commutative
in B.
! "
0
A4 The vector 0 B and
0

!a"
b
c

for all
A5
Also

!a"

! "
0
0
0

!a"
b
c

! "
0
0
0

!a"
b
c

!a"
! "
0
R3 ; in particular, this holds if bc B, so 0 is a zero vector in B.
0
"
! a " ! a "
a
If cb B then bc = b B since a(b)(c) = (abc) = 0.
b
c!

!a"

! a "

! "
0
0
0

! a "

!a"
+ cb ,

+ b =
= b
c
c
!a"
!a"
so bc is a negative of bc .
!a"
S1 Suppose that cb B and k R.
! a " ! ka "
Then k cb = kb B since ka kb kc = k(a b c) = 0.
kc
S2 If u, v B and k R then k(u + v) = ku + kv since this is true for all points
in R3 .
S3 If u B and k, l R then (k + l)u = ku + lu since this is true in R3 .
S4 If u B and k, l R then (kl)u = k(lu) since this is true in R3 .
S5 If u B then 1u = u since this is true in R3 .
b
c

4. The chemical equation for the combustion of petrol is of the form


x1 C8 H18 + x2 O2 x3 CO2 + x4 H2 O,
for some integers x1 , x2 , x3 and x4 . Find values for x1 , x2 , x3 and x4 so that the equation is
balanced.
(Hint: Write an equation that balances the number of atoms of carbon (C), an equation that balances the
number of atoms of hydrogen (H), and an equation that balances the number of atoms of oxygen (O). So
you will have three equations, in the four unknowns x1 , x2 , x3 , and x4 , to solve as usual.)

Solution Balancing the number of atoms of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen on both sides of the

Math 2061: Practice session 1 (Week 1) Solutions

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Linear Mathematics

Practice session 1 (Week 1) Solutions

Page 4

equation gives the following equations.


(carbon)
(hydrogen)
(oxygen)

8x1 = x3
18x1 = 2x4
2x2 = 2x3 + x4
Rewriting this system in matrix form Ax = b, where x =
#

8 0 1 0 0
18 0 0 2 0
0 2 2 1 0

! x1 "
x2
x3
x4

, the augmented matrix is

We apply elementary row operations to write the matrix A in row echelon form.
!

8 0 1 0
18 0 0 2
0 2 2 1

"

"

! 18 0

1
R1 = R1
2

0 2
8 0 1 0
1"
! 10 02 121
8 0 1 0
0 2 2 1
! 1 0 1 1 "
0 0 9 8
0 1 1 12
! 1 0 1 1 "
0 1 1 12
0 0 1 89

R1 R2

R =R R

1
2

1
R3 = R3

1
R3 = R3
9

R =R 8R

2
1
2

R R

3
2

!9 0
8
! 01
0
0
!1
0
0

0
2
0
0
2
0
1
0

0
1
2
1
9
2
1
1
9

"

1
0
1 "
1
8
1
1 "
21
8

Hence, a row echelon form of the augmented matrix is


# 1 0
0 1
0 0

1 1
1 21
1 98

0 $
0 .
0

It is evident that x4 is a free variable (or parameter). Let x4 = t, where t can take any real value.
Using back substitution we express each variable in terms of the parameter t:
x3 = 89 x4 = 89 t,

x2 = x3 + 12 x4 = 89 t + 12 t =

25
t,
18

x1 = x3 + x4 = 89 t + t = 19 t.

Consequently, there are infinitely many solutions of this system of equations; namely,
#

x1
x2
x3
x4

=t

1
9
25
18
8
9

for all t R.

It seems reasonable to take the solution which has the smallest possible non-negative integer
values for our unknowns. Taking t = 18 we obtain x1 = 2, x2 = 25, x3 = 16 and x4 = 18. The
balanced chemical equation is therefore
2C8 H18 + 25O2 16CO2 + 18H2 O.

Math 2061: Practice session 1 (Week 1) Solutions

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Linear Mathematics
5. Let A =

1 3 7
1 2 6
2 0 4

Practice session 1 (Week 1) Solutions

"

Page 5

a) Use Gaussian elimination to find all solutions of the equation Ax = 0, where x =


! "
0
and 0 = 0 .
0
b) Hence show
that no nonzero linear combination of the columns of A is equal to 0.
! "
c) Let b =

b1
b2
b3

! x1 "
x2
x3

R3 and suppose that Ax = b is a consistent system. Using (a), show that

the equation Ax = b has a unique solution.

Solution
a) We have
!

1 3 7
1 2 6
2 0 4

"

R :=R +R

1
22

R :=R

2
2

R :=R R

2
33

! 1 3

0
! 21
0
! 01
0
0

1
0
3
1
6
3
1
0

"

7
13
4
"
7
13
18
"
7
13
10

R :=R 2R

3
3
1

R3 := 1 R3

6
R3 :=

R3

10

! 1 3
0
! 01
0
! 01
0
0

1
6
3
1
1
3
1
0

"

7
13
18
"
7
13
3
"
7
13
1

Hence,
solution
! 1the
" only !
" to Ax
! 7 =" 0 is!x "= 0.
! 1 " ! "
! 1 " ! "
3
0
0
0
b) If 1 1 + 2 2 + 3 6 = 0 then A 2 = 0 . Therefore, 2 = 0
4
0
0
0
0
2
3
3
by part (a), and so there is no nonzero linear combination of the columns
of
A
equal
to
0.
! s1 "
s
c) If the system is consistent then it has at least one solution. So suppose s23 is a solution
! s1 "
! t1 "
s
2
that is, A s3 = b. Now suppose that t2 is another solution, so that we also have
t3
! t1 "
A t2 = b.
t3
! s1 t1 "
(! s1 " ! t1 ")
! s1 "
! t1 " ! "
0
s
s
Then A s2 t2 = A s23 t2
= A s23 A t2 = 0 .
s
t
t
t
3
! s31 "3 ! t1 "
! s1 t1 "3 ! "
! s1 "0 ! t1 "
0
Hence, ss23 t2 = s2 t2 = 0 by (a), so that ss23 = t2 is the unique
0
t3
s3 t3
t3
solution of Ax = b.

Math 2061: Practice session 1 (Week 1) Solutions

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