Someone asked a very interesting question on the role of vectors in Physics. He was curious to know if dot product of vectors is natural but vector product is just syncretism, — that is make shift or unnatural manipulation.

Every vector can be resolved into two components. The cosine and sine components (any two vectors would constitute a plane) while cos part can represent the projection defined through dot PDT we can’t leave out the sine part. It plays its role through the vector or cross PDT.

The vector direction is no more along same direction as original vectors because of orthogonality. To preserve symmetry of both orthogonal components (or equal footing of both vectors, vector a and b eg) we need the 3rd dimension. Hence such a definition of cross PDT.

Eg the emf generated in a changing “mag field” (Faraday’s law) depends on change in mag field if area is held const. It also depends on change in “area vector” if mag field is held const. So there are two vectors involved and their transverse values matter (and not their longitudinal values). To preserve equivalent role of both area and mag field vectors the resultant vector must be in a 3rd orthogonal direction …

Also think of this; a scalar is not necessarily directionless. (think electric current or even temperature or heat gradient etc) They just do not have the full fledged capacity of vectors. Its like flower bud vs fully blossomed flower.

So scalars can’t be added like vectors. We tend to make a mistake here. We say scalars don’t have a direction. That’s totally erroneous. They do have direction and it matters. Which direction you want to stick to if the current flows along certain direction only?

Lets make it still more clear.

If there are two directions in which there are electric currents, we say they are both equal, the direction won’t matter. That’s where we make the mistake. We should say they are equivalent and not equal. Equality is ideal, its mathematical. But equivalence is physical. Its the effects of both currents in a certain sense that make them equivalent, but their strict equality does not follow.