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MathGroup Archive 1999

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Type coercion on Symbols to get symbolic complex conjugation

  • To: mathgroup at smc.vnet.net
  • Subject: [mg18074] Type coercion on Symbols to get symbolic complex conjugation
  • From: Patrick Reany <reany at xroads.com>
  • Date: Tue, 15 Jun 1999 01:43:32 -0400
  • Delivery-date: Tue Jun 15 07:15:54 1999
  • Organization: Crossroads Communications
  • Sender: owner-wri-mathgroup at wolfram.com

I'm trying to mix complex conjugation on demonstrably complex numbers,
like a + b I (which works fine), with conjugation on symbols, such as
taking k -> k* ,which doesn't work because

1) it appears that in some cases Mathematica treats all symbols not
demonstrably equal to a complex number as a noncomplex number, in which
case if I could coerce it to complex by something like

makeComplex[x_] := Complex[x]

(which doesn't work) I might have a chance; or

2) in other cases that k -> Conjugate[k], which would be OK if I could
get it to print out as k* or overbar k.

What follows are a couple things I've already tried:

Conjugate[a_] := a* /;  SymbolQ[a];
Format[Conjugate[x_]]  :=x* /;  SymbolQ[x]

In summary: I want to declare a symbol, say k, as having Head Symbol or
Complex and then to print out (display) the Conjugate of k in the form
of either k* or overbar k. (I use version 3.)

Thanks.


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