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# Difference between revisions of "Complex number/Citable Version"

The complex numbers  are numbers of the form a+bi, obtained by adjoining the imaginary unit i to the real numbers (here a and b are reals). The number i can be thought of as a solution of the equation . In other words, its basic property is . Of course, since the square root of any real number is positive, . A priori, it is not even clear whether such an object exists and that it deserves be called 'a number', i.e. whether we can associate with it some natural operations as addition or multiplication. Admitting for a moment that the positive answer is given for granted, we define



Aside on notation: There is a well established tradition in mathematics of adopting notation that is suggestive, even if it is, in some ways, unnatural or awkward. For example, if complex numbers are ordered pairs of real numbers, why not represent them as pairs, i.e., use  rather than ? Thee are several ways of answering this question. One is that our notation tends to guide our thinking, and writing  emphasizes the idea that the real number x is a complex number, whereas writing  for the same number suggests that, as a complex number, x is something fundamentally different (perhaps it is). A second, and rather different, reason for using the notation  is that it suggests a parallel with another part of mathematics. In elementary number theory, we learn to perform arithmetic modulo a number base. for example, we may write

to indicate that when we add 4 and 5 and then divide the result by 7, the remainder is 2. We can do something similar with polynomials in a single variable x. We know that , but , so when we divide by , the remainder is . And by the same token,

so, when we add or multiply complex numbers, we are just doing modular arithmetic! Of course, there are also times when we wish to focus on the geometric or analytic aspects of complex numbers rather than the algebraic ones, but there is a tendency to want to retain the same notation where possible, and there is no question but that mathematical notation also tends to be dictated by tradition and historical accident.

## Working with Complex Numbers

### Basic Operations

We define addition and multiplication in the obvious way, using  to rewrite results in the form :





To handle division, we simply note that , so



and, in particular,



It turns out that with addition and multiplication defined this way,  satisfies the axioms for a field, and is called the field of complex numbers. If  is a complex number, we call  the real part of  and write . Similarly,  is called the imaginary part of  and we write . If the imaginary part of a complex number is , the number is said to be real, and we write  instead of . We thus identify  with a subset (and, in fact, a subfield) of .

Going a bit further, we can introduce the important operation of complex conjugation. Given an arbitrary complex number , we define its complex conjugate to be . Using the identity  we derive the important formula



and we define the modulus of a complex number z to be



Note that the modulus of a complex number is always a real number.

The modulus (also called absolute value) satisfies three important properties that are completely analogous to the properties of the absolute value of real numbers

1.  and  if and only if 
2. 
3. 

The last inequality is known as the triangle inequality.

### The Complex Exponential

Recall that in real analysis, the ordinary exponential function may be defined as



The same series may be used to define the complex exponential function



(where, of course, convergence is defined in terms of the complex modulus, instead of the real absolute value).

Notation: The expressions  and  mean the same thing, and may be used interchangeably.

The complex expomential has the same multiplicative property that holds for real numbers,namely



The complex exponential function has the important property that



as may be seen immediately by substituting  and comparing terms with the usual power series expansions of  and .

The familiar [[triginometry|triginometric] identity



immediately implies the important formula

, for any 

## Geometric Interpretation

Since a complex number  corresponds (essentially by definition) to an ordered pair of real numbers , it can be interpreted as a point in the plane (i.e., . When complex numbers are represented as points in the plane, the resulting diagrams are known as Argand diagrams, after Robert Argand.

## Algebraic Closure

An important property of  is that it is algebraically closed. This means that any non-constant real polynomial must have a root in . This result is known as the fundamental theorem of algebra. There are many proofs of this theorem. Many of the simplest depend crucially on complex analysis. To illustrate, we consider a proof based on Liouville's theorem: If  is a polynomial function of a complex variable then both  and  will be holomorphic in any domain where . But, by the triangle inequality, we know that outside a neighborhood of the origin , so if there is no  such that , we know that  is a bounded entire (i.e., holomorphic in all of ) function. By Liouville's theorem, it must be constant, so  must also be constant.

There are also proofs that do not depend on complex analysis, but they require more algebraic or topological machinery. The starting point here is that  is a real closed field (i.e., an ordered field containing positive square roots and in which odd degree polynomials always do posess a root). The starting point is to note that  is the splitting field of , so if we can show that  has no finite extensions. We are done. Suppose  is a finite normal extension with Galois group G. A Sylow 2-subgroup H must correspond to an intermeiate field L, such that L is an extension of  of odd degree, but we know no such extensions exist. This contradiction establishes the theorem.

As an aside, it is interesting to note that avoiding the methods of one branch of mathematics (complex analysis), requires the use of more advanced methods from another branch of mathematics (in this case, field theory).

## Notational Variants

This article follows the usual convention in mathematics (and physics) of using  as the imaginary unit. Complex numbers are frequently used in electrical engineering, but in that discipline it is usual to use  instead, reserving  for electrical current. This usage is found in some programming languages, notably Python.