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September 20, 2017

TIFR 2013 Problem 38 Solution -Eigenvalue of differentiation

TIFR 2013 Problem 38 Solution is a part of TIFR entrance preparation series. The Tata Institute of Fundamental Research is India's premier institution for advanced research in Mathematics. The Institute runs a graduate programme leading to the award of Ph.D., Integrated M.Sc.-Ph.D. as well as M.Sc. degree in certain subjects.
The image is a front cover of a book named Linear Algebra Done Right by Sheldon Axler. This book is very useful for the preparation of TIFR Entrance.

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Problem Type:True/False?

Let (V) be the vector space of polynomials with real coefficients in variable (t) of degree ( \le 9). Let (D:V\to V) be the linear operator defined by (D(f):=\frac{df}{dt}). Then (0) is an eigenvalue of (D).


If 0 were an eigenvalue, what would be its eigenvector?


There are several ways to do this. One possible way is to find out the matrix representation of (D) with respect to standard basis ( {1,t,t^2,...,t^n})( or any other basis) and observe that it is a (strictly) upper triangular matrix with all diagonal entries 0 and therefore the determinant of (D) is 0. This implies that D is not injective, so there is some nonzero vector to which when (D) is applied gives the zero vector. Therefore, (D) has 0 eigenvalue.

Another way to do this is by observing that (D(1)=0(1)), therefore 0 is an eigenvalue of (D) with 1 as an eigenvector.


  • What is this topic: Linear Algebra
  • What are some of the associated concept: eigenvector,eigenvalue
  • Book Suggestions: Linear Algebra done Right by Sheldon Axler

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