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:

- Addition/subtraction when paying for things
- Multiplication when cooking for 6 roommates
- Probability when deciding whether to buy cell phone insurance
- Calculus when thinking about the distance needed to break fast while biking
- Exponents and logs when analyzing traffic graphs and programming

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.