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It is obvious that linear one-dimensional extensions can be called "straight lines", also it will be clear what is to be understood by a "prism" (or "cylinder"). This latter is bounded by two mutually parallel linear three-dimensional extensions and and by a lateral surface which may be extended indefinitely to both sides and in which mutually parallel straight lines ("generating lines") can be drawn.

We need not dwell upon the elementary properties of the prism.

§ 17. A vector may now be represented by a straight line of finite length; the quantities , which have been introduced in § 10, are the changes of the coordinates caused by a displacement along that line. The magnitude of the vector, expressed in natural units, will be denoted by . It is given by a formula similar to (1), viz. by


A vector may be regarded as being the same everywhere in the field-figure, if have constant values. In the same way a rotation (§ 11) may be said to be the same everywhere, if it can be represented by two vectors of this kind.

If from a point two vectors and issue, denoted by , and , resp., the angle between them (comp. (5)) is defined by


We remark here that are real, positive or negative quantities and that and are expressed in the way indicated in § 5 ("absolute" values). It is to be understood that does not change when the signs of are reversed at the same time.

If is the value of the vector and if the angle between this vector and is denoted by (), it follows further from (11) and (12) that

In the special case of a right angle we have

an equation expressing the connexion between a vector and its "projection" on a line . The angle () is the angle between the vector and its projection, both reckoned from the same point .

§ 18. Let us now return to the prism mentioned in § 16. From a point of the boundary of the "upper face", we can