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number are called imaginary numbers.

to the square root of -1: i = −1 .

some number multiplying with i, an imaginary number.

When you see a number under a square root sign, you are

being asked for the value that multiplied with itself to give

the number under the radical sign; i.e., the root that

produced the number under the radical sign.

negative answer. So, the square root of any negative

number must be an imaginary number.

positive square root to find and the square root of the –1.

Because the square root of any negative number is

imaginary, mathematicians have developed a special set of

numbers.

9 is the 3. Without the use of i, we would be unable to

eliminate this radical.

= 3i

www.thinkwell.com info@thinkwell.com

Copyright 2001, Thinkwell Corp. All Rights Reserved. 6577 –rev 04/27/2001

1

Unit: Roots and Radicals Module: Complex Numbers [Page 1 of 1]

Rewriting Powers of i

• i 2 = –1.

• i3=i .

i 2 = i . –1 = -i = - −1 .

• i 4 = (i 2) 2 = -1 . -1 = 1.

• Every power of i is equal to one of these four values (i, -1, - i, and 1).

there is no number which can multiply by itself and still be

negative.

No one knows what the square root of a negative might be; it

must be imaginary. Try it. You won’t find one.

a real number value, not by any magic, but by using normal

multiplication rules:

−1 .

−1 = ( −1 )2 = -1

i can be read as i . i 2. That’s a good idea since we know the

3

Substituting –1 for i 2, gives us our value.

i 4 equals i 2 . i 2, which is -1 -1. Doing the multiplication, you get

1 as the product.

i and i 2 are defined. i 3 and i 4 are combinations of i and i 2 that

provide unique answers.

Starting with i 5, the values start over because everything is

some combination of the first four values. The values make a

loop that starts over every four terms.

Your value will always be wherever you fall in that loop. Divide

the power given for i in your problem by 4. The value you need

will be the value for i using the remainder as your power.

www.thinkwell.com info@thinkwell.com

Copyright 2001, Thinkwell Corp. All Rights Reserved. 6579 –rev 04/27/2001

2

Unit: Roots and Radicals Module: Complex Numbers [Page 1 of 1]

an imaginary, or i -number, being added or subtracted.

• When adding complex numbers, add like terms according to the normal

rules. Add constants to constants, variables to variables, and imaginary

numbers to imaginary numbers.

normal rules, paying attention to sign changes across parentheses as you

combine constants with constants, variables with variables, and imaginary

numbers with imaginary numbers.

add like terms:

♦ Variables with variables

♦ i ’s with i’’s

♦ Constants with constants

same rules:

♦ Variables with variables

♦ i ‘s with i ‘s

♦ Constants with constants

parentheses correctly.

their signs changed before you do any

combining.

type of numbers than any other action.

www.thinkwell.com info@thinkwell.com

Copyright 2001, Thinkwell Corp. All Rights Reserved. 6581 –rev 04/27/2001

3

Unit: Roots and Radicals Module: Complex Numbers [Page 1 of 1]

examples of a number which multiplies with itself to produce a negative

number. Therefore, no one knows what the square root of a negative might

be; it must be imaginary.

• i 2 = -1. This follows from the definition of a square root. If you multiply a

square root times itself, you get the base being rooted.

• First terms together

• Outer terms together

• Inside terms

• Last terms, and adding all the products together.

This guarantees that you multiply everything and get all your products

without losing any.

They turn up wherever complex numbers turn

up.

just like FOIL with a binomial.

the -15 becomes +15.

when you get an i 2 change it to –1. The

net effect is to create a constant with the

opposite sign.

constants, combine them.

www.thinkwell.com info@thinkwell.com

Copyright 2001, Thinkwell Corp. All Rights Reserved. 6583 –rev 04/27/2001

4

Unit: Roots and Radicals Module: Complex Numbers [Page 1 of 1]

sign with the result that multiplying the two binomials gives the difference in

the squares of their terms.

their denominators as a means of clearing those values from the

denominators.

• i= −1

• i 2 = -1

the complex values from the denominator.

conjugate of the denominator.

This process leaves all real numbers in the denominator

and adds a complex number to the numerator.

denominator, you can proceed to solve the problem quite

nicely.

Let’s try another one. Multiply the top and bottom of the

fraction by 2 – i, the conjugate of the denominator.

This one leads you into the paths that are common with

imaginary numbers and radicals. It’s not difficult, but the

answer is unexpected.

www.thinkwell.com info@thinkwell.com

Copyright 2001, Thinkwell Corp. All Rights Reserved. 6585 –rev 04/27/2001

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