Register to reply 
Complex numbers  are they the 'ultimate', or are there any complex complex numbersby warrianty
Tags: complex numbers 
Share this thread: 
#1
May2309, 09:25 PM

P: 1

When we try to calculate the root of a negative number, we come to the idea to introduce complex numbers. Is there any operation for which complex numbers wouldn't be enough, so there's a need to introduce complex complex numbers, complex ^ n numbers, etc?



#2
May2309, 09:53 PM

Mentor
P: 8,316




#3
May2309, 10:16 PM

Mentor
P: 15,167

... or the octonions, or sedenions, and so on. Every power of 2 yields a different algebraic structure. Something is lost with each step. The complex numbers are not orderable, the quaternions are not commutative, the octonions are not associative, the sedonions are not alternative, and so on.
The complex numbers fill an algebraic hole in the reals. The real numbers form a complete field, but they are not algebraically closed (there is no real solution to x^{2}+1=0). The complex numbers fills that gap. Unlike the reals, complex numbers are algebraically closed. Like the reals, the complex numbers form a field. Moreover, the complex numbers are algebraically closed. Those larger algebraic structures, unlike the complex numbers, do not fill a hole. They are instead invented structures motivated by the complex numbers. 


#4
May2309, 10:18 PM

Emeritus
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
P: 16,091

Complex numbers  are they the 'ultimate', or are there any complex complex numbers
You have learned the complexes, which contain the reals, which contain the rationals, which contains the integers, which contain the natural numbers... but don't be mislead by this: the number systems aren't arranged in a neat hierarchy like this. Instead, they branch off in all sorts of directions. Probably the most common number systems in use, other than the ones you already explicitly know, are: . The cardinal numbers . The ordinal numbers . The extended real numbers . The projective real numbers . The projective complex numbers I would assert things like . Polynomial rings . Vector spaces . The "algebra" of all matrices . The "algebra" of all Abelian groups are essentially number systems too, although I would probably get more disagreement about that. 


#5
May2309, 10:21 PM

P: 532

If you start with natural numbers and try adding properties, you end up at the complex numbers.
 Start with the natural numbers.  If you want to be able to subtract any number from any other, you have to add negative numbers to get the set of integers.  If you want to divide, you need the rationals.  If you want to take limits, you need the reals.  To take square roots (or solve general polynomials), then you have to go to the complex numbers. The complex numbers are a complete and algebraically closed field, so there's not really much reason to go further. It is possible to use quaternions and octonions. I don't know if you can derive them by trying to complete the complex numbers under some operation, although you do lose properties. With quaternions you lose commutativity, ab != ba. With octonions you also lose associativity, (ab)c != a(bc). 


#6
May2409, 04:59 AM

Sci Advisor
HW Helper
P: 9,396

EDIT  I think that the 'real sense' means something like you lose enough structure for it not satisfy some property  I can't find the result I'm thinking of. There are of course algebras of arbitrary degree over C. EDIT EDIT I have it  proved by Bott Periodicity, the only division algebras over R are C, quarternions and octonions. 


#7
May2409, 09:53 AM

Mentor
P: 15,167




#8
May2409, 10:45 AM

P: 532




Register to reply 
Related Discussions  
Complex Numbers (maybe to complex?)  General Math  5  
Complex complex numbers  General Math  12  
Are complex numbers magical?  General Math  11  
Are complex numbers part of the real world  General Discussion  8  
More Complex Complex Analysis  Calculus  1 