F P 1
16
The square root of any number,
x
0, is a real number,but what is the square root of a negative number such as

9?
Real numbers lie on thenumber line.Real numbers lie on thenumber line.
012−1−2012−1−2
The imaginary number
i
2.1
Consider the equation
x
2
+ 9
=
0then
x
2
=

9
x
=
−
9
=
91
×
−
=
91
×
−
=
±
3
´
−
1
since
ab a b
=×
since
ab a b
=×
You can write the square root of any negative number as theproduct of a real number and
−
1.
−
1 is an
imaginary number
and is denoted by the letter
i
.
So
−
9
=
±
3
i
and the solution to the equation
x
2
+
9
=
0 is
x
=
±
3
i
.
You can check each answer is correct by substituting it into thegiven equation.
When
x
=
3
i
,
x
2
+
9
=
(3
i
)
2
+
9
=
9
i
2
+
9
=

9
+
9
=
0 as required
x
=
±
3
i
are the roots of theequation
x
2
+
9
=
0
x
=
±
3
i
are the roots of theequation
x
2
+
9
=
0(3
i
)
2
=
3
i
´
3
i
=
9
i
2
(3
i
)
2
=
3
i
´
3
i
=
9
i
2
Use this method to checkthat
x
=

3
i
is also a root of this equation.Use this method to checkthat
x
=

3
i
is also a root of this equation.9
i
2
=
9
´

1
=

99
i
2
=
9
´

1
=

9
Find
−
25
,
−
12
and
−
7
.
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−
=±±
2525
5
i = i
−
=±=±×=±
1212433
2
i i i
−
=±
77
i
E XA MPL E 1