June 24, 2011

Complex number mathematics

I happened to have taught some complex number mathematics to students studying the International Baccalaureate Higher Level Mathematics. The students need to produce some graphical presentation using dynamic geometry software. Below are some the resources that I produced.

These pages illustrate the geometrical transformation of complex numbers in the complex(Argand) plane. Addition performs translation. Multiplication performs rotation, dilation or contraction. The complex number which involves in the additon or multiplication operation is the parameter of the transformation. It is instructive for students to identify the different transformation effects that can be achieved by different operations and parameters. Useful and interesting exercises are reflection, rotation by a right angle clockwise and anti-clockwise, dilation and contraction by a scale factor.

de Moivre' theorem is illustrated using of sequence of (green) vectors to indicate the results of the multiplications of a number complex W by itself many times from 2 to n. It is very important for students to verify algebraically that the effect the multiplication of two complex numbers on the arguments is their addition.

(cos A + i sin A)(cos B + i sin B) = cos(A+B) + i sin(A+B)

Thus the de Moivre's theorem can be proved by the method of induction. On the "roots" page, W which is the nth root of Z, can be found by adjusting it until W^n = Z. Notices that there n different ways to work. Thus actions illustrate the fact that there are n roots to the nth root of a complex number. Hide and show the root (orange) vectors to test and check the answers. The n roots of the nth root of a complex number form a regular polygon with n sides. It is instructive for students to construct a regular polygon using GeoGebra to verify the results.

Addition of complex numbers


Sorry, the GeoGebra Applet could not be started. Please make sure that Java 1.4.2 (or later) is installed and active in your browser (Click here to install Java now)


Multiplication of complex numbers


Sorry, the GeoGebra Applet could not be started. Please make sure that Java 1.4.2 (or later) is installed and active in your browser (Click here to install Java now)


de Moivre's theorem and roots of a complex number


Sorry, the GeoGebra Applet could not be started. Please make sure that Java 1.4.2 (or later) is installed and active in your browser (Click here to install Java now)



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