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must have that, whatever it may be, which is denoted by the algebraic symbol of quantity, subject to these laws.
155o. As already explained in 22° we denote a single linesegment, in the one-letter notation, by a single letter, as a, which is equivalent to the algebraic symbol of quantity; and hence,
A single algebraic symbol of quantity is to be interpreted geometrically as a line-segment.
It must of course be understood, in all cases, that in employing the two-letter notation for a segment (22°), as “AB,” the two letters standing for a single line-segment are equivalent to but a single algebraic symbol of quantity.
The expression a+b denotes a segment equal in length to those denoted by a and b together.
Similarly 2a=a+a, and na means a segment as long as n of the segments a placed together in line, n being any numerical quantity whatever.
(28°) a-b, when a is longer than b, is the segment which is left when a segment equal to b is taken from a.
Now it is manifest that, if a and b denote two segments, a+b=b+a, and hence that the commutative law for addition applies to these symbols when they denote magnitudes having length only, as well as when they denote numbers.
156°. Line in Opposite Senses.--A quantitative symbol, a, is in Algebra always affected with one of two signs, + or -, which, while leaving the absolute value of the symbol unchanged, impart to it certain properties exactly opposite in character.
This oppositeness of character finds its complete interpretation in Geometry in the opposite directions of every segment. Thus the segment in the margin may be considered as extending from A to B or from B to A. A
With the two-letter notation the direction can be denoted by the order of the letters, and this is one of the advantages
of this notation; but with the one-letter notation, if we denote the segment AB by +a, we must denote the segment BA by
But as there is no absolute reason why one direction rather than the other should be considered positive, we express the matter by saying that AB and BA, or +a and – a, denote the same segment taken in opposite senses.
Hence the algebraic distinction of positive and negative as applied to a single symbol of quantity is to be interpreted geometrically by the oppositeness of direction of the segment denoted by the symbol.
Usually the applications of this principle in Geometry are confined to those cases in which the segments compared as to sign are parts of one and the same line or are parallel. Ex. 1. Let ABC be any A and let BD be the altitude from
the vertex B.
Now, suppose that the sides AB and BC undergo a gradual change, so that B may move along the line BB' until it comes into the position denoted by B'.
Then the segment AD gradually diminishes as D approaches A ; disappears when D coincides with A, in which case B comes to be vertically over A and the A becomes right-angled at A; reappears as D passes to the left of A, until finally we may suppose that one stage of the change is represented by the AAB'C with its altitude B'D'.
Then, if we call AD positive, we must call AD' negative, or we must consider AD and AD' as having opposite senses.
Again, from the principle of continuity (104°) the foot of the altitude cannot pass from D on the right of A to D' on the left of A without passing through every intermediate point, and therefore passing through A. And thus the segment AD must vanish before it changes sign.
This is conveniently expressed by saying that a line
segment changes sign when it passes through zero; passing through zero being interpreted as vanishing and reappearing on the other side of the zero-point.
Ex, 2. ABCD is a normal quadrangle. Consider the side AD and suppose D to move along the line DA until it comes into the position D'.
The segments AD and AD' are opposite in sense, and ABCD' is a crossed quadrangle.
А 1. the crossed quadrangle is derived from the normal one by changing the sense of one of the sides.
Similarly, if one of the sides of a crossed quadrangle be changed in sense the figure ceases to be a crossed quadrangle.
Ex. 3. This is an example where segments which are parallel but which are not in line have opposite senses.
ABC is a A and P is any point within from which perpendiculars PD, PE, PF are drawn to the sides. Suppose that P moves
to P'. Then PF becomes P'F', and PF
CE! and P'F' being in the same direction have the same sense. Similarly PE becomes P'E', and these segments have the same sense. But PD becomes P'D' which is read in a direction opposite to that of PD. Hence PD and P'D' are opposite in sense.
But PD and P'D' are perpendiculars to the same line from points upon opposite sides of it, and it is readily seen that in passing from P to P'the IPD becomes zero and then changes sense as P crosses the side BC.
Hence if by any continuous change in a figure a point passes from one side of a line to the other side, the perpendicular from that point to the line changes sense. Cor. If ABC be equilateral it is easily shown that
PD + PE + PF=a constant.
And if we regard the sense of the segments this statement is true for all positions of P in the plane.
157°. Product.—The algebraic form of a product of two symbols of quantity is interpreted geometrically by the rectangle having for adjacent sides the segments denoted by the quantitative symbols.
This is manifest from Art. 152°, for in the form ab the single letters may stand for the measures of the sides, and the product ab will then be the measure of the area of the rectangle.
If we consider ab as denoting a having a as altitude and b as base, then ba will denote the having b as altitude and a as base. But in any o it is immaterial which side is taken as base (138°); therefore ab=ba, and the form satisfies the commutative law for multiplication. Again, let AC be the segment b+c, and AB be the segment
ç a, so placed as to form the alb+c) or
AF. Taking AD=b, let DE be drawn
Then AE and DF are rect-
D2(6+c)=Dab+ ac, and the distributive law is satisfied.
158°. We have then the two following interpretations to which the laws of operation of numbers apply whenever such operations are interpretable.
1. A single symbol of quantity denotes a line-segment.
As the sum or difference of two line-segments is a segment, the sum of any number of segments taken in either sense is a segment.
Therefore any number of single symbols of quantity connected by t and signs denotes a segment, as a+b, a-b+c, n-6+(-c), etc.
For this reason such expressions or forms are often called linear, even in Algebra.
Other forms of linear expressions will appear hereafter.
2. The product form of two symbols of quantity denotes the rectangle whose adjacent sides are the segments denoted by the single symbols.
A rectangle encloses a portion of the plane and admits of measures in two directions perpendicular to one another, hence the area of a rectangle is said to be of two dimensions. And as all areas can be expressed as rectangles, areas in general are of two dimensions.
Hence algebraic terms which denote rectangles, such as ab, (a+b)c, (a + b)(c+d), etc., are often called rectangular terms, and are said to be of two dimensions. Ex. Take the algebraic identity
alb+c)=ab+ac. The geometric interpretation gives—
If there be any three segments (a, b, c) the on the first and the sum of the other two (6, c) is equal to the sum of the Os on the first and each of the other two.
The truth of this geometric theorem is evident from an inspection of a proper figure.
This is substantially Euclid, Book II., Prop. I.
159o. Square.—When the segment b is equal to the segment a the rectangle becomes the square on a. When this equality of symbols takes place in Algebra we write afor an, and we call the result the “square" of a, the term “square being derived from Geometry.
Hence the algebraic form of a square is interpreted geometrically by the square which has for its side the segment denoted by the root symbol. Ex. In the preceding example let b become equal to a, and
a(a + c)=a+ ac,