Eigenvector & Eigenvalue

1. Matrix (M): stretch & twist space
2. Vector (v): a distance along some direction
3. M.v = v’ stretched & twisted by M

Some directions are special:-
a) v stretched but not twisted = Eigenvector;
b) The amount of stretch = constant = Eigenvalue (λ)

Let M the matrix, λ its eigenvalue,
v eigenvector.
By definition: M.v = λ.v
v = I.v (I identity matrix)
M.v = λI.v
(M – λI).v=0
As v is non-zero,
1. Determinant (M- λI) =0 => find λ
2. M.v = λ.v => find v

Note1: Why call Eigenvalue ?
From German: “Die dem Problem eigentuemlichen Werte
= “The values belonging to this problem
=> eigenWerte = EigenValue
Eigenvalue also called ‘characteristic values’ or ‘autovalues’.
Eigen in English = Characteristic (but already used for Field).

Note2: Schrödinger Quantum equation’s Eigenvalue = Maximum probability of electron presence at the orbit outside nucleus.

Note3: Excellent further explanation of the eigenvector and eigenvalue:


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