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The Design of Linear Algebra and Geometry

By David Hestenes


Abstract. Conventional formulations of linear algebra do not do justice to the fundamental concepts of meet, join, and duality in projective geometry. This defect is corrected by introducing Clifford algebra into the foundations of linear algebra. There is a natural extension of linear transformations on a vector space to the associated Clifford algebra with a simple projective interpretation. This opens up new possibilities for coordinate-free computations in linear algebra. For example, the Jordan form for a linear transformation is shown to be equivalent to a canonical factorization of the unit pseudoscalar. This approach also reveals deep relations between the structure of the linear geometries, from projective to metrical, and the structure of Clifford algebras. This is apparent in a new relation between additive and multiplicative forms for intervals in the cross-ratio. Also, various factorizations of Clifford algebras into Clifford algebras of lower dimension are shown to have projective interpretations. As an important application with many uses in physics as well as in mathematics, the various representations of the conformal group in Clifford algebra are worked out in great detail. A new primitive generator of the conformal group is identified. [Note: Some corrections have been added in brackets.] 1

Year: 1991
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