UCT MAM1000 lecture notes part 27 – complex numbers part v

We’re about to make one of the most profound links that we will obtain through complex numbers. This is going to show how complex numbers are a bridge between different areas that you already know about, but never knew had anything to do with one another.

We know about exponential functions and how they have very special properties related to their derivatives. e^x is a function which is practically defined as the function which is equal to its derivative. We also know that exponential functions tell us about growth, and we will see this in more detail when we come on to differential equations.

We know that trigonometric functions are to do with triangles, and circles, and angles and they tend to be periodic. They tell us how things vary in a way where they come back to where they started after some time.

Exponential functions and trigonometric functions couldn’t really look much more different if they tried.…

UCT MAM1000 lecture notes part 25 – complex numbers part iii

So we saw last time that we can take a complex number and put it in a 2 dimensional plane called the complex plane, where its horizontal distance from the origin is given by its real part, and the vertical distance from the origin is given by its imaginary part. We can thus think of the real and imaginary parts as the Cartesian coordinates of that point.

It turns out that there is another way to represent a complex number, but rather than using the real and imaginary parts to specify it, we will use two other pieces of information.

If I tell you that a complex number is a distance |z| away from the origin in the complex plane, then this leaves you with a whole circle of possibilities. All the points on the circle of radius |z| about the origin are the same distance from the origin. But if I also give you an angle subtended between the x-axis and the line joining the complex number and the origin, read anti-clockwise from the x-axis, this will completely pin down the point in the complex plane.…