TIFR 2013 Problem 8 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 Introduction to Linear Algebra by Gilbert Strang. This book is very useful for the preparation of TIFR Entrance.

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If a real square matrix \(A\) is similar to a diagonal matrix and satifies \(A^n=0\) for some \(n\), then \(A\) must be the zero matrix.

Hint: There exists an invertible matrix \(P\) and a diagonal matrix \(D\) which satisfies \(PDP^{-1}=A\). What happens when we apply the given condition?


\(0=A^n=(PDP^{-1})^n=PDP^{-1}PDP^{-1}…PDP^{-1} \) (n-times multiplication)

Hence, \(0=PD^nP^{-1}\). \(P\) being invertible, we multiply on left and right by \(P^{-1}\) and \(P\) respectively and get \(D=0\).

In whatever basis you write the zero transformation, the result is same, namely the matrix of zero transformation is always zero-or null matrix.

Hence, \(A=0\)

you can also see the-TIFR 2014 Problem 11 Solution – Nilpotent Matrix Eigenvalues


  • What is this topic: Linear Algebra
  • What are some of the associated concept: Invertible Matrix, Linear Transformation
  • Book Suggestions: Introduction to Linear Algebra by Gilbert Strang