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The Cross Product



At the beginning of the school year, we learned the two forms of vector multiplication: the dot product and the cross product. The more intricate of the two, the cross product, comes into play in many equations to provide very useful information. For example, in magnetism, F=I(BXL). This means the magnetic force is a vector cross product of the vector of the magnetic field crossed with the length of the object multiplied by the current flowing through that object. The resulting force will have values in the X, Y, and Z directions, indicating which plane the force is in relative to the length and the magnetic field. The Cross product is very helpful in revealing the direction and magnitude of the vector in that direction. It also helps to visualize where the other vectors (that influence the value of the resultant vector) are and what direction they are traveling in. Unlike most of my classmates, I like the cross product and although I don't have a firm understanding of it yet, I will continue to work on it so I can use it to better understand physics concepts as I take higher level physics courses.


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