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# The basis vectors are tangent the coordinate lines

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CHAPTER 2

Ai BiAi Bi= A1B1+ A2B2+ A3B3

Another example is that SaTab is shorthand for the expression

Aa′= �abAb

In this expression, b is once again a dummy index. The sum implied here means that

Aa′= �a bAb = �a 0A0 + �a 1A1 + �a 2A2 + �a

would be valid to make the change a′→ b′, provided that we make this change on both sides; i.e.,

Ab′= �bbAb

In a given coordinate system, the basis vectors ea are tangent to the coordinate lines. (See Fig. 2-3 and Fig. 2-4) This is the reason why we can write basis vectors as partial derivatives in a particular coordinate direction (for an explanation, see Carroll, 2004). In other words, we take

e ∂
a =a = ∂xa

This type of basis is called a coordinate basis. This allows us to think of a vector as an operator, one that maps a function into a new function that is related to its derivative. In particular,

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