Complex numbers

Logs of Negative or Complex Numbers

Last time we considered negative bases for logarithms; in that discussion it was mentioned that complex numbers can change everything. This will allow us to do things like finding logs of negative numbers; but it will also make things, well, more complex! Let’s take a look.

Complex Powers of Complex Numbers

Having looked at issues surrounding powers and roots of complex numbers, including fractional powers, let’s go even further and consider complex powers of complex bases. Things will get a little weird as we work toward \((2+3i)^{3+2i}\)!

Euler’s Formula: Complex Numbers as Exponents

Last week we explored how the polar form of complex numbers gives multiplication a simple geometric meaning. Here we’ll go one more step, and express polar form exponentially, which makes DeMoivre’s theorem trivial, and gives us a simple notation to replace “cis”.

Arithmetic with Complex Numbers

We’ve seen what complex numbers are; now we can look at what we can do with them. The basic operations are not hard, but have a few interesting features related to graphs. So that’s where we’ll start

How Imaginary Numbers Became “Real”

Last week we started a series on complex numbers, looking at how we introduce the concept. This time I want to look more at the actual history of the idea, leading to how mathematicians were able to define complex numbers without saying “Just suppose …”.

Making Sense of Imaginary Numbers

Several recent questions (including last week’s post) involved complex numbers, and made me realize we haven’t yet talked about them here. So let’s start a series on the topic, beginning with how we talk about them to students who are just meeting the idea for the first time, or are troubled by it.