Indefinite Form

Indefinite Form

 

a concept in linear algebra. The quadratic form

with real coefficients a, ij is called an indefinite form if it takes on positive and negative values for real values of the variables. By a linear change of variables, we can reduce an indefinite quadratic form to a form

For a given indefinite form the values of s and t are independent of the method of reduction of that form to the form (*) (this result is called the law of inertia of quadratic forms). The indefinite form

x2 + y2 + z2c2t2

plays an important role in special relativity. Indefinite quadratic forms occur in the study of extrema of functions of several variables, in mechanics, and in analytic geometry.

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References in classic literature ?
On his head there was a wreck of a hat of indefinite form, but his gun of a new patent was a perfect gem, and his game bag and cartridge belt, though worn, were of the very best quality.
Bearing vestiges of the human body, this hauntingly indefinite form can be read as a kind of enigmatic memento mori; David seems to be exploring the depressive aspects of process painting, along with its aggressive tendencies.
The Impressionists knew this is the way the eye sees and painted vague, indefinite forms surrounding the focal point.

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