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Complex Numbers : Solutions

David W.H. Swenson


Exercise 1. What Cartesian point is equivalent to the complex number 6i?
What about 2?
Since 6i = 0+6i, we identify a = 0 and b = 6 in a+bi. Therefore, (a, b) becomes
(0, 6). Similarly, 2 gives us 2 + 0i, and the point (2, 0).
Exercise 2. For the complex number z = a + ib, what is |z| in terms of a and
b? [Hint: think back to trigonometry.]
If we look at figure 1, we see that |z|, which is denoted r in the figure, is the
hypotenuse of a right triangle
with side lengths a and b. So, by the Pythagorean
theorem, we have |z| = r = a2 + b2 .
Exercise 3. For z = a + ib, what is arg(z) in terms of a and b? For the special
case of a real number (b = 0) what is arg(z)?
This is again just a little trigonometry. We know that arg(z) is the angle
identified in figure 1, and we again use the fact that we have a right triangle.
With b as the length of the side opposite the angle, and a the side adjacent, we
have tan(arg(z)) = b/a, or arg(z) = tan1 (b/a).
There is a subtlety to the special case of a real number. The obvious answer
is that arg(z) = tan1 (0) = 0. But what about negative numbers? Since r
has to be positive (since it is a distance), using arg(z) = 0 only includes the
positive numbers. From looking at figure 1, we can determine that we also need
to include the possibility arg(z) = .
The reason is that the function tan() is -periodic. So for any n Z, we
have
tan(arg(z)) = 0 arg(z) = n
This means that arg(z) = 0 is only the solution for n = 0. Other valid solutions
include , 2, . . .. Positive real numbers are covered by even multiples of
(including 0), and negative numbers are covered by odd multiples.
Exercise 4. For a complex number z with magnitude r and argument , what
are a and b such that z = a + ib?
One more flashback of trig: defining arg(z) and r |z|, we have a = r cos()
and b = r sin().
Exercise 5. Show that (a + ib)(a ib) = a2 + b2
1

Just a little algebra:


(a + ib)(a ib)

= a2 iab + iab i2 b2
= a2 + 0 (1)b2
= a2 + b2

Exercise 6. Show that (r ei )(r ei ) = r2


Remember that when you multiply exponentials, the exponent adds. So we have
(r ei )(r ei )

r2 ei ei
r2 eii
r2 e0
r2

=
=
=
=

Exercise 7. What is the complex conjugate of a real number?


For a real number, we can write z = a + 0i = a for some real number a. So the
complex conjugate z = a 0i = a, which is also equal to z. So a real number
is its own complex conjugate. [Suggestion : show this using Eulers z = r ei
representation of complex numbers.]
Exercise 8. Take a point in the complex plane. In the Cartesian picture, how
does the act of taking the complex conjugate move the point? What about in
the polar coordinate picture?
In the Cartesian picture, we have a+ib, which becomes aib. This is equivalent
to taking the point (a, b) and moving it to (a, b), which is a reflection about the
x-axis. So in the Cartesian picture, complex conjugation is a reflection about
the x-axis.
In the polar coordinate picture, we change an angle from positive to negative. So in the polar coordinate picture, complex conjugation changes the angle
counter-clockwise to clockwise.
You should think about these two pictures, and convince yourself that they
are equivalent.
Exercise 9 (Advanced). Prove Eulers formula. [Hint : whats the Taylor
series (or MacLaurin series, actually) of ex ? So what if you replace x by i
(remembering that i2n = (1)n )? Now what are the series expansions for
cos() and sin()?]
We begin with the MacLaurin series of ex :
ex =

X
xj
j=0

j!

Now we make the change of variables x i:


i

X
(i)j
j=0

X
j=0

j!
(i)2j+1
(i)2j
+
(2j)!
(2j + 1)!

2j 2j
X
i
j=0

X
j=0

(2j)!

j=0

i2j+1 2j+1
(2j + 1)!

i2j 2j+1
1j 2j
+i
(2j)!
(2j + 1)!
1j

2j+1
2j
+ i(1)j
(2j)!
(2j + 1)!

1j

X
2j
2j+1
1j
+i
(2j)!
(2j + 1)!
j=0

j=0

= cos() + i sin()
The first step splits the sum into even and odd terms. The rest is just manipulation until the last step indentifies the series expansions found as those of sin()
and cos().
Strictly speaking, we have to prove that all these series converge over what
is called an infinite radius of convergence. But well leave that problem to the
folks who have taken complex analysis.
Exercise 10. Using Eulers Formula, show that the simple rule for complex
conjugation gives the same results in either real/imaginary form or magnitude/argument form. [Hint: take a complex number z = rei and define a
and b such that rei = a + ib. Then take the complex conjugate.]
Using the results from exercises *** and ***, for z we have a = r cos() and
b = sin() in Cartesian (real/imaginary) form. For z = r ei , a = r cos() =
r cos() and b = r sin() = r sin() in Cartesian form. Comparing these, we
have that a for z equals a for z and b for z equals b for z .
Exercise 11. Two other formula are often grouped in with Eulers formula.
They are:

1 i
cos() =
e + ei
2
and

1 i
sin() =
e ei
2i
Prove these using Eulers formula as given in equation ??. [Hint: sin(x) =
sin(x) and cos(x) = cos(x).]
3

The trick is to use Eulers formula twice. For the positive angle, we have
ei = cos() + i sin()
and for the negative angle, we have
ei

=
=

cos() + i sin()
cos() i sin()

where the second step comes from the parity (even/odd-ness) of the sin and cos
functions, which was given in the hint.
Now all we have to do is either add or subtract the functions. If we add
them, we find
ei + ei

= (cos() + i sin()) + (cos() i sin())


= 2 cos()

From that, we get 12 ei + ei = cos().
On the other hand, if we subtract them, we find
ei ei

(cos() + i sin()) (cos() i sin())


2i sin()

1
And from there we easily obtain 2i
ei ei = sin().
=
=

Exercise 12 (Advanced). Theres a famous formula in mathematics which


combines several of the most important mathematical constants: e, , i, and 1.
Construct a formula which is equal to zero, using each of those constants once
in your expression. [Hint : remember that in ei is in radians.]
Well go straight to the answer: ei + 1 = 0. A friend bought me a pin with
this formula on it. Convince yourself that it is true.
Exercise 13. What is the square root of i?
Following the methodology outlined in the text, we first convert i to Eulers
notation. It has modulus 1 and argument /2. So
p

i = ei/2

Now we use the fact that z = z 1/2 and we have



1/2

1
i =
ei/2
= ei/2 2
= ei/4
Since 1 = ei(/2/2) , we have

i =
=
=
=

ei(/2/2) ei/4
ei(/2/2+/4)
ei(3/4/2)
ei/4 or e5/4
4

Converting these back to real part/imaginary part notation:




i
1
+ i sin
= +
ei/4 = cos
4
4
2
2
and


 
5
1
i
5
e
= cos
+ i sin
=
4
4
2
2
This exercise is part of an interesting subject in mathematics called the nth
roots of unity. M&S give more detail in their exercise ***.
5i/4

Exercise 14. Prove de Moivres formula,


n

(cos() + i sin()) = cos(n) + i sin(n)


where R and n N. [Hint : (eb )c = ebc ]
Once we have Eulers formula, this is pretty straightforward. Thanks to Euler,
we have
n
n
(cos() + i sin())
= ei
= e(i)n = ei(n)
= cos(n) + i sin(n)
This also reminds us of another important rule when dealing with exponentials,
which was given in the hint.
Exercise 15 (Advanced). The technique described above can be used to find
many trigonometric identities. By first taking the trig function, then using the
formulae given by equations ?? and ??, doing some math with the result, then
converting them back to trigonemetric forms, you can rather easily obtain many
results from trigonometry. As an example, try
sin2 () + cos2 () = 1
(To the real show-offs: try

1
dx sin2 (ax) cos2 (ax) = 32a
sin(4ax) + x8 )

As the exercise suggests, we first replace the sin and cos functions, then do some
arithmetic:
 i
2  i
2
e ei
e + ei
sin2 () + cos2 () =
+
2i
2

2
1
1
2
=
ei ei +
ei + ei
4
4

2 
1
i
i 2
=
e e
+ ei + ei
4


1
=
e2i 2 + e2i + e2i + 2 + e2i
4

1
e2i + 2 e2i + e2i + 2 + e2i
=
4
1
=
4=1
4
5

Now, for the show-off version. Ill do the math a little less explicitly, but
you should be able to at least follow the gist:
Z

dx sin (ax) cos (ax)

 

 2 1 iax
 2
1 iax
iax
iax
e e
e +e
dx
2i
2
Z


1 2iax
dx
e
2 + e2iax e2iax + 2 + e2iax
16
Z

1 4iax
dx
e
2 + e4iax
16
Z

Z
Z
1
4iax
4iax

dx e
dx 2 + dx e
16


1
1 4iax
1 4iax

e
2x +
e
16 4ia
4ia
 x
1 1

e4iax e4iax +
16 4ia
8
x
1
sin(4ax) +

32a
8
Z

=
=
=
=
=
=
=