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Hey guys. So, you’re overseas, or at least on your way. Have fun! I feel badly that we didn’t wrap up this idea about rotations and dilations on Thursday. I tried to wrap it up for you guys, but then I didn’t. This letter is my attempt to connect what we were studying this past week with the first thing that you’ll be studying in Israel. So…where were we? 1. (1, 1) represents a 45 degree rotation, combined with a dilation by 2 2. (0, 1) represents a 90 degree rotation, combined with a dilation by 1. 3. (1, 3 ) represents a dilation by 2 and a rotation by 60 degrees. 4. ( 3 , 1) represents a dilation by 2 and a rotation by 30 degrees. If you have doubt about facts 3 and 4, draw an equilateral triangle whose sides are all equal to 2, and then drop an altitude. Now, let’s play a game: I show you two things that shouldn’t be related, but it turns out that they are. Along the way, you’ll start realizing something that shocked mathematicians when it was discovered.

(1,1) o (1,1) = (a, b) Find a and b. Assume that i 2 = −1 . Multiply: (1 + i )(1 + i )

The answer that you should have gotten on the left is (0, 2). After all, (1, 1) is a 45 degree rotation with a dilation by 2 . If you do it twice, you rotate 90 degrees and multiply your line by 2. On the right, you should have gotten 1 + i 2 + i + i , or 1 + i 2 + 2i . Since i 2 = −1 , though, that all turns into 2i . That’s the same thing as 0 + 2i , by the way.

I like this game! Let’s keep on going on the next page.

(1, 3 ) o ( 3,1) = (a, b)

Find a and b.

Assume that i 2 = −1 . Multiply: (1 + i 3 )( 3 + i )

(0,2) o (−1,0) = (a, b) Find a and b.

Assume that i 2 = −1 . Multiply: 2i × (−1 + 0i )

( 3 ,1) o ( 3,1) = (a, b)

Find a and b.

Assume that i 2 = −1 . Multiply: ( 3 + i )( 3 + i )

( 3 ,1) o (0,1) = (a, b) Find a and b.

Assume that i 2 = −1 . Multiply: ( 3 + i ) × i

Let’s talk about the first example that you just calculated.

(1, 3 ) o ( 3,1) = (a, b)

• • •

(1, 3 ) is a dilation by 2 and a rotation by 60 degrees. ( 3 ,1) is a dilation by 2 and a rotation by 30 degrees. Put those together and you have a 90 degree rotation with a dilation of 4. So it should be (0, 4).

Assume that i 2 = −1 . Multiply: (1 + i 3 )( 3 + i )

• • • •

Expand: 3 + i + 3i + i 2 3 But i 2 = −1 3 − 3 + i + 3i = 4i

•

Let’s do one more together:

( 3 ,1) o ( 3,1) = (a, b)

Find a and b.

Assume that i 2 = −1 . Multiply: ( 3 + i )( 3 + i )

•

• • •

Each of the ( 3 ,1) transformations is a 30 degree rotation and a dilation by 2. Together, it’s a 60 degree rotation and a dilation by 4. We know that (1, 3 ) is a dilation by 2 and rotation by 60. ( 3 ,1) o ( 3,1) = 2(1, 3 ) = (2, 2 3 )

• • • •

Expand: 3 + i 3 + i 3 + i 2 But i 2 = −1 So: 3 − 1 + i 3 + i 3 = 2 + 2i 3 = 2(1 + i 3 )

Holy cow. That’s a sweet coincidence. Does it always work? Try it out with some other examples, or examples that you come up with by yourself.

We’ll talk about it some more on the next page.

Let’s test this new idea with some of the first problems in transformations that we tackled: a. (0,1) o (0,1) = b. (0,1) o (0,1) o (0,1) = c. (0,1) o (0,1) o (0,1) o (0,1) = d. (0,1) o (0,1) o (0,1) o (0,1) o (0,1) = e. (0,1) 6 = f. (0,1) 7 = g. (0,1) 8 = h. (0,1) 20 = i. j. (0,1) 701 = (0,1) 4001 = a. b. c. d. e. f. g. h. i. j.

i×i i×i×i i×i×i×i i×i×i×i×i i6 i7 i8 i 20 i 701 i 4001

Cool, right? You might find it hard to come up with more examples that work perfectly without getting a bit more sophisticated with right triangle trigonometry. But you can also try some estimation problems. For example, approximately what should (1,2) o (5,5) be? Does that make sense with (1 + 2i )(5 + 5i ) ?

Now, wait, hold on a second: this whole entire thing is built on the premise that i 2 = −1 . That’s a ridiculous assumption, though! Granted, it makes this whole thing work, but why would you believe it? After all, there is no number that when squared gives you − 1 . I hope that, by now, you’re starting to see an answer to this question. There are different answers that different people will give1.

I think that you guys are ready to see the deeper truth here. It’s true: there is no number that gives you a negative number when you square it. But we haven’t been talking about regular old numbers. We’ve been talking about transformations. And it is true that (0,1) 2 = −1 , in a certain sense.

1

One way of answering this question, for instance, would be to start thinking about what sort of things are allowed and forbidden in math. For instance, we forbid division by zero. Well, why? Why not say that 5 ÷ 0 = z ? Thinking about that question would give you a good place on which to think about whether i 2 = −1 makes sense or not.

There is a lot more to talk about. But the takeaway is that we’re dealing with a new type of number, something beyond what we’ve dealt with before. It’s a number that represents a geometric transformation! So: if we’re dealing with a new type of number, do we need a new type of arithmetic? What does addition mean? Subtraction? Multiplication? Division? Exponents? Equations? Square roots? That’s what you’re going to deal with when you study the arithmetic of complex numbers with your teacher. And that’s what we’ll be doing in class this coming week. Have fun! Be in touch with any questions or ideas. Mr. Pershan

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