From: Jacquie  
Date: Fri, 20 Oct 95 19:22:02 -2400

I'm in Emath 300 and our class has a question:

What are some real life examples that we can use when a student in high 
school asks what is the purpose of learning imaginary / complex numbers.



Jacquie, I will try an answer to your question but I am not sure it fits your "real life examples" requirement.

One of the reasons that the complex numbers are important is that they help us understand various concepts or processes. In particular some aspects of electricity and magnetism are best understood using complex numbers. The place where students in high school see this is in the study of quadratic equations. If you consider real numbers only, then some quadratic equations have solutions and some do not. If you include complex numbers then every quadratic equation has a solution, and this fact helps unify the study of such equations.

I hope this helps.


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