In 1832 Gauss proposed the term complex for numbers of the form (a + bi) where a and b are
real and i is defined as sqrt(-1), which is the imaginary part. The modern development of
complex numbers began with the
discovery of a geometric interpretation for them.
Complex numbers in general, require two dimensions: each complex number corresponds to a
point in a plane or to a line segment (a vector) directed from the origin to the point.
These two-dimensional graphs of complex numbers were introduced independently about 1800 by
Caspar Wessel of Norway and Jean Argand of France.
Complex numbers are useful not only in pure mathematics (theory of equations and
function theory) but also throughout the physical sciences.
This Web Page Sums It Up!
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