Most of the time in maths you are working with “real” numbers ie) all the rational numbers so we have 1,3,3.5567,4/7,root 2 etc, however sometimes we will need to extend our field of numbers to imaginary numbers. This is when we want to find the root of a negative number eg root -9, as (-3)2 and 32 both equal 9 we are unable to find the square root of -9. In order to solve this number we can use the “imaginary” number i such that
i = √-1
We then say that √-9 = 3i since √ab = √a √b and therefore √-9=√9 √-1 = 3i . This allows us to solve all equations with negative roots. It is also useful to know what in gives as shown below
i2 = -1
Complex numbers are made up of both real and imaginary parts,
eg z =a+ib
is a complex number. When comparing complex numbers we need only compare the real and imaginary parts, by equation them to each other,
ie) if the complex number z=a+ib
and 2z = 6+10i
a=3 and b=5
To solve complex equations with fractions we often have to rationalise the fractions, like we would with surd’s, so that there are no imaginary parts on the bottom and we can compare the coefficient’s, this is done by multiplying by the conjugate.
note// the conjugate of z=a+ib is z’ = a-ib
eg) (2+3i)/(4+5i) = (2+3i)(4-5i)/(4+5i)(4-5i) = (23+2i)/41
Complex numbers can be represented on an argand diagram when the y axis is the imaginary part and the x axis is the real part, so that the number a+ib is plotted at (a,b), and a line is draw between this and the origin to represent the number. The length of the line is called the moduls and the angle between the real axis and the line is the argument.