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Q&A #4927

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Pre-calculus

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From: Loyd

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2005013114:19:32
Subject: Re: Re: Re: jobs on imaginary numbers

Electrical Engineers are not the only ones who use imaginary numbers. Anyone who uses differential equations (all engineers and physicists) will use imaginary numbers at times. Any mechanical system that vibrates and produces wave motion requires the knowledge of imaginary numbers. So, often in text books, a circuit with resistance, inductance and capacitance is compared to a mass oscillating on a spring. The mass is equivalent to inductance and If I remember right, the stiffness of the spring corresponds with capacitance. Some professors teach the mechanical system first and then teach the more abstract electrical circuit later. So, bridges, like galloping gerty in the Tacoma Narrows that went down about 50 years or so ago, can often set up oscillations that cause disaster. So, it would seem that bridge designers should have at least a rudimentary knowledge of imaginary numbers. Remember if you don't learn it, you will not use it. Understanding it, will open up lots of doors for you because not many people ever really understand this properly. People that understand, will command the highest salaries.

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