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#1 2007-02-08 20:05:33

MathsIsFun
Administrator
Registered: 2005-01-21
Posts: 7,534

Imaginary Confusion

You may be familiar with this property of square roots:


For example:

But with imaginary numbers:

Why is this ? ?


"The physicists defer only to mathematicians, and the mathematicians defer only to God ..."  - Leon M. Lederman

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#2 2007-02-09 16:41:55

ganesh
Moderator
Registered: 2005-06-28
Posts: 13,164

Re: Imaginary Confusion

MathsIsFun,

The square of (-1) is 1. The square root of 1 is ±1. Since the square root of (-1) is represented by i, and it is known that i²=-1, it may be intially baffling that -1=1, but a square root always has two values, positive and negative. In this case, since -1 is also one of the roots, the equation is perfectly right! dizzy


Character is who you are when no one is looking.

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#3 2007-02-09 19:04:26

MathsIsFun
Administrator
Registered: 2005-01-21
Posts: 7,534

Re: Imaginary Confusion

Awww... I was hoping to cause confusion.


"The physicists defer only to mathematicians, and the mathematicians defer only to God ..."  - Leon M. Lederman

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