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The key point to remember is that imaginary numbers are often used to represent a second physical dimension. Remember, a purely imaginary voltage in an AC circuit will shock you as badly as a real voltage – that’s proof enough of it’s physical existence!
Let’s look quickly at a fun concept – imaginary motion. Hit the “Imaginary” button in the figure left to see an engineer’s definition of Imaginary motion. Clearly, this motion is every bit as physical as “Real” motion (hit “Real” button for comparison). Imaginary doesn’t directly imply non-existent as some may believe.
But if Imaginary motion is physical, what makes it “Imaginary”?
We use some cool interactive gadgets to answer this question and more, taking you from the dry math to a solid grasp of how imaginary numbers are used in real world applications. Each of our three pico-lessons takes only two minutes. Have fun!
1. Mapping Imaginary to Physical – Lesson 1
2. Complex Numbers and Dynamic Systems – Lesson 2
3. An Imaginary Number Application – Lesson 3
B. The Physical Link of the Imaginary Unit – Bonus Lesson
PS. Thanks everybody so far for your comments. It’s been a lot of fun reading them all.