Conceptual Understanding in Introductory Physics VIII: A Simple Vector Equation

This post’s question reinforces the previous question in this series, which asks the reader to articulate why division by a vector is undefined in Gibbsian vector analysis. Here’s the question:

Solve the following vector equation for a:

a\vec{F} = -5\vec{F}

Don’t be deceived. It’s not as straightforward as it looks. I would really love hearing from colleagues who give this problem to their students. I predict most (students) will try to divide both sides by a vector to get the answer.


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