# Spectral theorem

**spectral theorem**is any of a number of results about linear operators or about matrices. In broad terms the spectral theorem provides conditions under which an operator or a matrix can bediagonalized (that is, represented as a diagonal matrix in some basis). This concept of diagonalization is relatively straightforward for operators on finite-dimensional spaces, but requires some modification for operators on infinite-dimensional spaces. In general, the spectral theorem identifies a class of linear operators that can be modelled by multiplication operators, which are as simple as one can hope to find. In more abstract language, the spectral theorem is a statement about commutative C*-algebras. See also spectral theory for a historical perspective.

**spectral decomposition**,

**eigenvalue decomposition**, or

**eigendecomposition**, of the underlying vector space on which the operator acts.