Tensor (intrinsic Definition)For an introduction to the nature and significance of tensors in a broad context, see Tensor.
In mathematics, the modern component-free approach to the theory of a tensor views a tensor as an abstract object, expressing some definite type of multi-linear concept. Their well-known properties can be derived from their definitions, as linear maps or more generally; and the rules for manipulations of tensors arise as an extension of linear algebra to multilinear algebra.
In differential geometry an intrinsic geometric statement may be described by a tensor field on a manifold, and then doesn't need to make reference to coordinates at all. The same is true in general relativity, of tensor fields describing a physical property. The component-free approach is also used heavily in abstract algebra and homological algebra, where tensors arise naturally.
- Note: This article assumes an understanding of the tensor product of vector spaces without chosen bases. An overview of the subject can be found in the main tensor article.