# Cosine and Sine Functions are Linearly Independent

## Problem 201

Let $C[-\pi, \pi]$ be the vector space of all continuous functions defined on the interval $[-\pi, \pi]$.

Show that the subset $\{\cos(x), \sin(x)\}$ in $C[-\pi, \pi]$ is linearly independent.

## Proof.

Note that the zero vector in the vector space $C[-\pi, \pi]$ is the zero function
$\theta(x):=0.$

Let us consider a linear combination
$a_1\cos(x)+a_2\sin(x)=\theta(x)=0 \tag{*}.$ If this linear combination has only the zero solution $a_1=a_2=0$, then the set $\{\cos(x), \sin(x)\}$ is linearly independent.

The equality (*) should be true for any values of $x\in [-\pi, \pi]$.
Setting $x=0$, we obtain from (*) that
$a_1=0$ since $\cos(0)=1, \sin(0)=0$.

We also set $x=\pi/2$ and we obtain
$a_2=0$ since $\cos(\pi/2)=0, \sin(\pi/2)=1$.

Therefore, we have $a_1=a_2=0$ and we conclude that the set $\{\cos(x), \sin(x)\}$ is linearly independent.

### More from my site

#### You may also like...

##### Maximize the Dimension of the Null Space of $A-aI$

Let $A=\begin{bmatrix} 5 & 2 & -1 \\ 2 &2 &2 \\ -1 & 2 & 5 \end{bmatrix}.$ Pick...

Close