What's Linear Algebra?

December 3, 2009 โ€” What would happen if instead of writing about subjects you understood, you wrote about subjects you didn't understand? Let's find out!

Today's topic is linear algebra. I know almost nothing about vectors, matrices, and linear algebra.

I did not take a Linear Algebra course in college. Multivariable calculus may have done a chapter on vectors, but I only remember the very basics: it's a size with a direction, or something like that.

I went to a Borders once specifically to find a good book to teach myself linear algebra with. I even bought one that I thought was the most entertaining of the bunch. Trust me, it's far from entertaining. Haven't made it much further than page 10.

I bet vectors, matrices, and linear algebra are important. In fact, I'm positive they are. But I don't know why. I don't know how to apply linear algebra in everyday life, or if that's something you even do with linear algebra.

I use lots of math throughout the day such as:

But I have no idea when I should be using vectors, matrices, and other linear algebra concepts throughout the day.

There are lots of books that teach how to do linear algebra. But are there any that explain why?

Would everyone benefit from linear algebra just as everyone would benefit from knowing probability theory? Would I benefit?

I don't know the answer to these questions. Fooled by Randomness revealed to me why probability is so incredibly important and inspired me to master it. Is there a similar book like that for linear algebra?

I guess when you write about what you don't know, you write mostly questions.