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Topic: review and question
Replies: 13   Last Post: Jan 27, 2013 11:46 AM

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Nick B

Posts: 89
Registered: 9/23/07
Re: review and question
Posted: Jan 25, 2013 1:37 AM
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Tom is correct in saying that 3 + 2i is complex and not imaginary in today's vocabulary. I always found the Regents curriculum faulty in this area. Imaginary numbers are complex numbers whose real part is zero. To use the term "non-real roots" would be much clearer. However, the ambiguity here is borne out in the history of the topic, as the Italian mathematician Cardano called complex numbers "fictitious" and I believe Descartes made no distinction between imaginary and complex numbers when he introduced the term "imaginary". One could also argue the term "imaginary" has unwanted implications and thus is not desirable, but it seems as though we're stuck with it.

Nick



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