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Re: Imaginary numbers - most interesting points

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  • Subject: [mg98739] Re: [mg98647] Imaginary numbers - most interesting points
  • From: robert prince-wright <robertprincewright at>
  • Date: Fri, 17 Apr 2009 04:29:36 -0400 (EDT)
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thanks for the Gauss quote Peter
its amazing to realise how bad maths teaching is. If you were taught how multiplying by 'i' is effectively a 90 degree rotation and that i squared added another 90 deg then Cauchy Riemann, stream and potential functions all make more sense...

From: peter <plindsay.0 at>
To: robert prince-wright <robertprincewright at>
Cc: mathgroup at
Sent: Thursday, April 16, 2009 9:44:56 AM
Subject: [mg98739] Re: [mg98647] Imaginary numbers - most interesting points

"That this subject [imaginary numbers] has hitherto been surrounded by mysterious obscurity, is to be attributed largely to an ill adapted notation. If, for example, +1, -1, and the square root of -1 had been called direct, inverse and lateral units, instead of positive, negative and imaginary (or even impossible), such an obscurity would have been out of the question. " -Gauss


2009/4/15 robert prince-wright <robertprincewright at>

I have (perhaps unwisely!) decided to do a 'Pecha Kucha' on imagination .... or at least imaginary numbers. The audience are all engineers with hazy recollection of undergrad maths.

If you are not familiar with Pecha Kucha, then its worth checking Youtube and doing some googling. Simplistically the concept is to share understanding of something using 20 slides. Each slide should convey as much as possible with as few words as possible, with the message limited to 20 seconds!

So, what is the most interesting thing about the imaginary number 'i' that you can think of, and how can it most simply be conveyed using Mathematica 7 in Slide presentation form?

I've started with the notion of polynomial roots, de Moivre, reflections etc. but would appreciate a wider view.


Peter Lindsay 


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