Sunday, April 26, 2009



Would you rather be the world's leading expert on the imaginary number "i" or the mathematical constants pi or e? Why?

I am a big fan of pi. BUT... I think I'd rather be the leading expert on the imaginary number i. I guess it's just fun to perplex people, make them think, or even make them stop thinking. Not to mention I enjoy using my imagination and inspiring others to use theirs. The number i is kinda like the koan of mathematics.

Maybe real numbers are the ego of math.
Ooh, that's a good one. I remain convinced that there's a message buried in the transcendental numbers, put there by God (a concept Carl Sagan elucidated in the novel "Contact"). But without 'i', there would be no Mandelbrot set, a landscape as much worth exploring as the undiscovered countries downstream from the decimal points of 'e' or π.

I can't choose!
i^i=.207879576 approximately
It would be "i" because it is any number whose square is less than 0, say the square root of -1. that it has no existence in reality does not mean it is useless. It is used in signal procesing, engineering, Quantum mechanics, set theory, Guess what the "i" in "iphone" or "ipod" stands for? You have it. If the realization of "i" had no use we could not have these powerful Apple gadgets, much less the computer. Much more real si that since numbers are themselves abstract (they don't exist except as representations of things. No one can hand you a 1.) The same is true of "i". It is doubly abstract. Besides the Riemann Function it is the strangest of all. "i" wins hands down.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

eXTReMe Tracker