Michael Alison Chandler, a Post reporter who is spending the year taking Algebra II and blogging about her experiences, has arrived at the part of the curriculum that includes imaginary numbers.
Not surprisingly, she has questions.
First off, why is the square root of -1 “imaginary”? If nothing times itself can equal a negative number, than how can these numbers exist at all?
Second, Why do we need them? When, on earth, would you ever want to use them?
A few commenters offer answers to her first group of questions.Â I’ll bet they’re also covered in the textbook.
Those in the second group are questions that all students should be asking – and getting good answers to – when studying math at any level.
Largely, however, they don’t.