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May 31, 2005

My imaginary number friend

Someone mentioned imaginary numbers in math class today. Working with radicals (you know, square roots, cubed roots, 4th roots, etc.) creates just such an environment for imaginary numbers, so I guess the stuff was bound to come up.

I haven't thought about imaginary numbers (represented by the little italic, lowercase "i") since my last math class in high school, precalculus and discrete math. *ewww*

But thinking more about them, if I had to have an imaginary friend, I'd want my imaginary friend to be an imaginary number. Like the square root of -16. (The reason it's imaginary is because nothing multiplied by itself will equal -16. "Ah ha," you may say, "but -4 squared will give me -16." No, friend, it will not. A negative number multiplied by a negative number is always a positive number. Therefore, by definition of squaring a number, the square root of -16 is an imaginary number.)

Sure, you can get the square root of -16 as an answer to a problem. In fact, we did today in class. But! It doesn't really exist... It's a thing of the imagination.

So the square root of -16 is found among the radicals. That makes me think that it ought to have bright blue hair in pigtails. And maybe cotton candy blue skin. Oh! And she would wear green pants with white pin-stripes and a golden vest over a pink button-up, matching her pink horn-rimmed glasses. And she'd have an orange striped puppy on a purple leash.

That's radical.
But I'm not sure if we could be friends if she's a political radical :-/ Even if she does have a puppy.

Posted by KarissaKilgore at May 31, 2005 4:31 PM


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