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MATH 1141
Section 1: - Complex Numbers.
1. The Number Systems.
Let us begin by trying to solve various algebraic equations. Suppose we only know about
the set of natural numbers (written as N). Then we can solve the equation x 3 = 2 and
obtain the solution x = 5. On the other hand, if we try to solve the equation x + 3 = 2 then
there is no solution! To solve this equation we need a larger set of numbers which includes
the negative whole numbers as well as the positive ones. This set is called the set of integers
and is denoted by Z. Continuing this idea:
In Z:
In Q:
In R:

x+3 =2
x = 1
3x = 2
x = 23
x2 = 2
x= 2

3x = 2
No solution
x2 = 2
No solution
x2 + 1 = 0
No solution





1 N

At each stage in the above we are able to solve each new type of equation by extending the
set of numbers in which we are working. Hence, to solve
x2 = 1 we introduce
the equation
a new symbol i (much as we introduced the symbol 2 to solve x2 = 2.) We define i to be
the (complex) number whose square is 1. i.e. i2 = 1. Using this new symbol, we can now
solve x2 = 1 to obtain solutions x = i. Furthermore, we can define the complex numbers
Definition: The set of all numbers of the form a + bi where a, b are real numbers and
i2 = 1 is called the set of all complex numbers and denoted by C.
Summary of Basic Rules and Notation:
Let z = a + ib, w = c + id be complex numbers. Then
(i) z w = (a c) + i(b d)
(ii) zw = (ac bd) + i(ad + bc).



(iv) Re(z) = a,


c2 +d2

Im(z) = b.

Example: z = 2 4i, w = 3 + i, find z + w, z w, zw,


Ex: Simplify (1 + i)8 .

CP: Let n be an integer. By considering cases, simplify in + in+1 + in+2 .

As with the set of real numbers and the set of rational numbers, if we add, subtract, multiply,
or divide (with the exception of division by 0) any two complex numbers, we again obtain
a complex number. This property is called closure. The complex numbers are closed under
addition, subtraction, multiplication and division (not by 0). A set of objects which has
these (and a number of other properties) is called a field in mathematics. The real numbers
and the rational numbers also form fields, but the integers do not, since they are not closed
under division. The natural numbers are not closed under subtraction.
The above examples are all infinite fields. In addition to these, there are finite fields, which
you will study in more detail in higher years. Here are some simple examples.
Definition: Given two integers a, b, we can write
a = bq + r, with 0 r < b.
We will write a r mod b, which we read as a is congruent to r modulo b.
In words, r is the remainder when we divide a by b.
Hence 7 2 mod 5, and 18 2 mod 4.
We can now form the set Z5 of the possible remainders when we divide by 5. So
Z5 = {0, 1, 2, 3, 4}.
We can define the operations of addition and multiplication to be the same as in ordinary
arithmetic, but the answers are calculated modulo 5.
Thus, addition and multiplication tables can be drawn up as follows:












From the tables, we can see that subtraction and division (except by 0) are defined. For
example 2 4 = 3 since 4 + 3 2 and 3 2 = 4 since 2 4 3.
The set Z5 is an example of a finite field.
CP: Make up the addition and multiplication tables for Z6 . Explain why this is NOT a
field. Can you complete (and prove) the following Theorem:
Zn is a field if and only if n is ........

Two complex numbers are equal iff they have the same real and imaginary parts, i.e. if
z = a + bi = w = c + di then we can conclude that a = c and b = d.

Roots of Unity:
A complex number 6= 1 is called an n-th root of unity if n = 1.
For example, if 3 = 1, and 6= 1 then we can write,

Example: To show just a little of the power of complex numbers, we seek to find a simple
closed formula for
n n n
+ ... +
where n is an integer divisible by 6.
We begin by noting that if is a complex cube root of unity then 1 + k + 2k can only take
the values

Now expand out (1 + )n and (1 + 2 )n .

Hence if is the largest integer such that 3 n we have

n 1
n n n

+ ... +
2n + (1 + )n + (1 + 2)n .
Finally, if n is a multiple of 6,

CP: Suppose n > 1 is a multiple of 4. By expanding (1 + i)n , (1 i)n , (1 + 1)n, and (1 1)n ,
find, in as simple a form as you can, the sum
n n n
+ ... +
Polynomial Equations:
We can now solve ALL quadratic equations.
Ex: Solve 5x2 4x + 1 = 0 and z 2 3z + (3 + i) = 0.

Note also that we can find new solutions to old equations such as x3 1 = 0.

Both of these are examples of the following remarkable theorem:

Theorem. (Fundamental theorem of algebra, FTA)
Suppose p(x) = an xn + an1 xn1 + + a1 x + a0 is a polynomial, whose co-efficients
an , , a1 , a0 are all real (or complex) numbers, then the equation p(x) = 0 has at least
one root in the complex numbers.
Corollary: The equation p(x) = 0 has exactly n (complex) solutions in the complex numbers (counting multiplicity).
(The last proviso counting multiplicity refers to polynomials which may, for example, have
factors such as (x 2)4 in which case the root x = 2 is counted four times.)
The above result tells us (among other things) that we do not need to find any larger
set of numbers if we want to solve polynomial equations. The complex numbers contain all
the roots of every polynomial.

Solution of Cubics:
The FTA tells about existence, but doesnt give us the machinery to actually find the roots
of a polynomial. For quadratics we have the quadratic formula, what about cubics?
The first thing to observe is that every cubic equation x3 + px2 + qx + r = 0 can be rewritten in the following form:
x3 + ax + b = 0.
This is achieved by the change of variable, x = y p3 .
Example: Remove the square term in:
x3 6x2 + x + 3.
Put x = y + 2

Cardano stole from Tartaglia, the secret of solving the cubic. He made the change of variable
x = u v. It is technically easier to put x = u + v.
Find the real root of x3 + 3x = 1.

Strange things can happen when we apply this method to cubics which have three real roots.
Example: Solving x3 6x + 4 = 0 which has x = 2 as one of it roots.

Square Roots:
Solve z 2 = 3 + 4i.

Conjugates: When solving a quadratic equation (with real roots) over the complex numbers, you will have observed that the solutions occur in pairs, in the form a + bi and a bi.
There are called conjugate pairs. We say that abi is the conjugate of a+bi (and vise-versa).
To represent this, we use the notation z = a + bi, z = a bi. This conjugate operation has
the following properties:
i. z w = z w
ii. zw = z.w



iv. z = z if and only if z is real.

v. z + z = 2Re(z).
You will prove these and similar results in the tutorial exercises.
Also note that repeated application of (ii) gives (a + bi)n = (a + bi)n .
The Argand Plane:
Complex numbers can be represented using the Argand plane, which consists of Cartesian
axes similar to that which you used to represent points in the plane. The horizontal axis is
used to represent the real part and the vertical axis, (sometimes called the imaginary axis),
is used to represent the imaginary part. For example, the following points have been plotted:
3, 2i, 3 + 2i, 4 + i.

3 + 2i



Complex numbers then are 2-dimensional, in that we require two axes to represent them.
Observe that a complex number z and its conjugate are simply reflections of each other
in the real axis.

We lose the notion of comparison in the complex plane. That is, we cannot say whether one
complex number is greater or lesser than another.
You have already seen that complex numbers can be expressed either in Cartesian Form,
a + ib, a, b R. We can also specify a complex number z by specifing the distance of z from
the origin and the angle it makes with the positive real axis.
This distance is called the modulus and written as |z| while the angle is called the argument and written as Arg(z). We insist, to remove ambiguity, that < Arg(z) .
Pythagoras theorem gives:
If z = a + bi then |z| =

a2 + b2 .

Care must be taken

to find the correct argument. It is easiest to find the related angle such
that tan = a and then use this to find the argument in the correct quadrant recalling
that we use negative angles in the third and fourth quadrant.

Ex: Find the modulus and argument of z = 1 + i 3 and w = 1 2i

Properties of Modulus:
The modulus function has the following properties:
(i) |zw| = |z||w|

(ii) =
, provided w 6= 0.
(iii) |z n | = |z|n

(iv) |z| = 0 z = 0.

Example: (Sums of squares).

We can write the integer 5 as 22 + 12 = |2 + i|2 . We can also write the integer 13 as
22 + 32 = |2 + 3i|2 . Hence

Try doing the same for 17 and 29.

CP: Use the idea above (not expansion) to prove that (a2 +b2 )(c2 +d2 ) = (acbd)2 +(ad+bc)2
and conclude that, in general, the product of any two numbers which are each the sum of
two integer squares, is itself the sum of the two integer squares.
This begs the question: What numbers can be written as the sum of two integer squares?
This is a hard problem. Experiment with prime numbers and make a conjecture.
CP: Suppose A and B are two points in the complex plane corresponding to the complex numbers = a + ib and = c + id respectively.
Explain why the triangle OAB is right-angled if and only if
| |2 = ||2 + ||2.

| |



Show that if triangle OAB is right-angled then ac = bd. Deduce that if triangle OAB is
right-angled then Re() = 0


Properties of the Argument:

We can distinguish between the principal argument of z, written Arg(z), which is uniquely
defined and takes values between and (excluding ), and the more general argument,
written arg(z), which is a set of values. We have Arg(z) = arg(z) mod 2, which means
that we can recover Arg(z) from arg(z) by adding or subtracting the appropriate multiple
of 2.
The Argument function has the following properties:
(i) Arg(zw) = Arg(z)+Arg(w) mod 2.
(ii) Arg(z/w) = Arg(z)Arg(w) mod 2.
The proofs of these will become apparent later.
Ex: Suppose || < 1, use a diagram to explain why |Arg



| < 2 .

Polar Form:

r sin

z = (r(cos + i sin )

r cos

From the diagram, we can see that the complex number z can be written in the form
z = r(cos + i sin ), where r is the modulus of z and is the argument of z. For example,
the complex number 1 i can be written as

2(cos( ) + i sin( )) = 2(cos i sin ).


This is sometimes called the polar form of z. You will need to be able to convert a complex number from cartesian
form, (a + bi), into polar form and vice-versa. For example,

3(cos 3 + i sin 3 ) = 2 + i 2 .
You may have seen the abbreviation cis to represent cos + i sin . You should not use
that here, since your tutor may not know what it is. This form is NOT generally used in
books beyond High School. Moreover, as we shall see, this polar form, is really a stepping
stone to a much better form which involves e. One important fact about the polar form is
a remarkable result called:
De Moivres Theorem:
For any real number , and any integer n, we have
(cos + i sin )n = cos n + i sin n.
The proof of this, looking at the various cases of n is given in the algebra notes. The method
of proof by induction is used. Note that the result also holds for n rational which we will
find useful later than finding roots.
Let us see how useful this result can be:

Ex: Let z = 1 i 3. Find z 12 .


Let us write de Moivres theorem as follows:

Let f () = cos + i sin , then (f ())n = f (n). Also f (0) = 1.
Euler did the following:
He supposed we can differentiate the function, treating i just like a real number.
If we momentarily ignore the logical difficulties involved then f () = i(cos + i sin ).
(ei ) = iei , we can see then that this function seems to have propComparing this with d
erties that are very similar to the exponential function ei . We will therefore define:
Definition: ei = cos + i sin (and hence ei = cos i sin ).
This formula is sometimes called Eulers formula. We shall take it to be a definition
of the complex exponential.
Thus, any complex number z can be expressed in the polar form
z = rei
where r is the modulus and the argument of z. For example, z = 1 i =

and z = 1

This last formula is quite remarkable since it links together the four fundamental constants
of mathematics. In a very important sense, this is the best way to write complex numbers.
We have used the term polar form in two different senses. From now on, when I say polar
form, I will (generally) mean this new exponential form. You ought to be able to convert a
complex number from cartesian form to polar form and vice-versa.
Note the following important facts:
(i) The conjugate of the complex number z = ei is given by z = ei .
(ii) ei = ei(+2k) where k is an integer.
We can write cos and sin in terms of the complex exponential as follows:
ei + ei
cos =

ei ei
and sin =


From the polar form, we can deduce the properties of modulus and argument which we
listed earlier. Let z = r1 ei1 and w = r2 ei2 then zw = r1 r2 ei(1 +2 ) from which it follows
|zw| = |z||w|
and Arg(zw) = Arg(z) + Arg(w) mod 2.

Ex: Convert z = 2ei 6 , w = 3ei

to Cartesian form:

Ex: Evaluate the product (1 + i)(1 i 3) in two ways to show that cos 12

1+ 3
2 2

The rules for multiplication of complex numbers in polar form tell us that when we
multiply two complex numbers together, rotation and stretching are involved. In particular,

since i = ei 2 , multiplying a complex number by i has the effect of rotating z anti-clockwise

about the origin, through an angle of 90 .


Ex: Find the complex number obtained by rotating (4 + 2i) anti-clockwise about the
origin through 2 .

More generally, to rotate complex number anticlockwise around 0 through an angle , we

multiply it by ei .
Ex: Rotate 3 i anticlockwise about 0 through an angle of 4 .

CP: Suppose w1 , w2 are two complex numbers such that 0 < Arg(w1) < Arg(w2). Show
that the triangle in the complex plane whose vertices are given by the origin, w1 and w2 is
equilateral if and only if w12 + w22 = w1 w2 . (Hint: Try to write w2 in terms of w1 using the
rotation idea.)

The Triangle Inequality:

The modulus operation has a number of other useful properties, but two very important
ones are:
i. zz = |z|2 and
ii. (The Triangle inequality), |z1 + z2 | |z1 | + |z2 |.
I will leave you to prove the first of these and look at the second:
Proof of (ii):

Ex: Prove that every root of the polynomial p(z) = z 4 + z + 3 lies outside the unit circle in
the complex plane.


a. Find an upper bound on the maximum of the modulus of p(z) = 4z 3 2z + 1 over all
complex numbers z which lie on the unit circle.
b. Prove that |z1 + z2 | ||z1 | |z2 ||. (Hint: Start with |z1 | = |z1 + z2 z2 |).
c. Hence find the minimum value of the modulus in (a). (Note that there are two things
to prove here.) Get MAPLE to plot the real and imaginary parts (use trigonometric polar
form) of p as z moves around the unit circle.
Powers and Roots of Complex Numbers:
Ex: Find (1

3i) .

To find roots of complex numbers, we will use the polar form. Note that to find the nth
root of a complex number , we are really solving z n = and so we will convert into polar
form. Such an equation will have n solutions! (by the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra.)
To get all of these solutions we express in polar form, using the general argument, not the
principal one. An example will make this clear.
Ex: Find the 7th roots of 1.


If we plot these complex numbers we see that they lie on a circle radius 1 and are equally
spaced around that circle.


b z1

z4 b



Ex: Find the 5th roots of 4(1 i).



Applications to Trigonometry:
Eulers formula gives a dramatic relationship between the exponential and trigonometric
functions. We can exploit this to deduce useful relationships and identities in trigonometry.
Ex: Find an expression for cos 5 in terms of sines and cosines.

Observe that one can also easily obtain corresponding formula for sin 5 by taking the imaginary parts of both sides.
Web Activity: Use Google to find some information about the Chebychev Polynomials
(there are various spellings of Chebychev) and see how they are related to the above example.
Ex: Taking the problem the other way round, express sin5 in terms of sine and cosines
of multiples of .


Such a formula is extremely useful in integration, where one might, for example, wish to
integrate sin5 .
CP: Find a similar formula for sin4 cos6 .
Example: Suppose 0 < < 2 and n is a positive integer. Show that

1 sin(n + 21 )
1 ei(n+1)
1 ei
2 sin 2
Use this to find a simple closed formula for
1 + cos + cos 2 + ... + cos(n).
(Try to find a similar formula for the sine sum.)


Regions in the Complex Plane:

In this section we see how to represent regions in the argand plane algebraically. For example, the set A = {z C : |z| 2} represents the set of points whose distance from the origin
is less or equal to 2. (N.B. |z | measures the distance between z and .) Hence this set
represents a disc radius 2 centre the origin.



Similarly, the set B = {z C : |z + 1| < 2} represents the open disc centre (1, 0) radius


The set C = {x C : 0 Arg(z) 3 } represents a wedge vertex at the origin, and arms
separated by an angle of 60 .

Note that the origin in NOT included since the argument of 0 is not defined.
Similarly the set D = {z C : 0 Arg(z i)
point i as shown.



Here are some further examples:

Ex: Sketch {z C : |z i + 1| < 2} {z C : Re(z) 0}


represents a wedge centre the

Ex: Sketch {z C : |z 3| < 2} {z C : Im(z 3i) > 0}

More on Polynomials:
The fundamental theorem of algebra, mentioned above, tells us that in the complex plane,
all polynomials have all their roots. This is a very powerful theoretical tool, but it does not
explicitly tell us how to find these roots for a given polynomial. Moreover, if we know the
roots then we also know how to factor the polynomial. You will need to recall a number of
basic facts about polynomials from High School, which are:
Remainder Theorem: If p(x) is a polynomial then the remainder r when p(x) is divided by x is given by p().
Factor Theorem: If p() = 0 then (x ) is a factor of p(x).
It is important to look at what the underlying set is when we are factoring, for exam2
ple, x
2 does
the rational numbers, but it does over the real numbers,
NOT factor over
(x + 2)(x 2). Similarly, x + 1 does not factor over the real numbers but does over
the complex numbers. From the fundamental theorem of algebra, it is clear that over the
complex numbers, all polynomials completely factor (at least in theory) into linear factors.
Theorem: Every polynomial (with real or complex co-efficients) of degree n 1 has a
factorisation into linear factors of the form:
p(z) = a(z 1 )(z 2 ) (z n )
where 1 , 2 , , n are the (complex) roots of p(z).
This result, still does not tell us how to factor. Nor does it tell us much about factoring over the real and rational numbers. For example, does the polynomial x4 + 4 factor over
the real numbers or rational numbers?

The key to factoring over the real numbers, is to firstly factor over the complex numbers
since in the complex plane the polynomial falls to pieces into linear factors.
Ex: Factor x4 + 1 over the complex numbers and hence over the real numbers.

Ex: Factor x6 + 8 over the complex and real numbers.

Note that if the co-efficients of the polynomial are real, then the roots occur in conjugate
Theorem: Suppose p(x) is a polynomial with real co-efficients, then if is a complex
(non-real) root, then so is .



From this is follows that:

Theorem: A polynomial with real co-efficients can be factored into a product of real linear
and/or real quadratic factors.
Proof: Factor p(x) over the complex numbers in the form
p(x) = a(x b1 ) (x br )(x 1 )(x 1 ) (x s )(x s )
where the bi s are real and the i s are complex (non-real). By the above theorem, these
must occur in conjugate pairs. Now each such pair of factors containing the conjugate pairs,
can be expanded, viz:
(x )(x ) = (x2 ( + )x + ).
Now + = 2Re() and so is REAL, and also = ||2 is also REAL. Hence the quadratic
we obtain has REAL co-efficients.


Ex: Show that z = i is a root of p(z) = z 4 2z 3 + 6z 2 2z + 5 = 0 and hence factor p over

R and C.

CP: (Not so hard.) Factor x9 16x5 x4 + 16 over the real numbers.

The story over the rational numbers is much more complicated. It is possible to have
polynomials of arbitrary degree which cannot be factored over the rational numbers. For
example, if p is a prime, then xp1 + xp2 + .... + x + 1 cannot be factored over the rationals.
(Can you prove this?)
Moreover, there is no simple test to tell whether a given polynomial can be factored over the
rationals. (More on this in MATH2400 and Higher Algebra in 3rd year).