Why is Complex number notation the way it is?

Grant Edwards grante at visi.com
Wed Dec 19 23:58:23 CET 2001

In article <3C21173A.8E02D0A0 at cosc.canterbury.ac.nz>, Greg Ewing wrote:
> Josh Yotty wrote:
>> I've been coding Python for about a day now, and I can't 'see' why a
>> complex number like 2+3i is represented as 2+3j in Python.
> Guido was apparently thinking like an engineer at the
> time. Electronic engineers use j instead of i to avoid
> confusion with current.

And I'm sure it's almost as obvious why "i" is used for
current. :) I was told it was because "c" was already taken for
capacitance, but I still don't know why "i" was chosen over
some other as-yet-unused letter.  But, we use notation where
current flows from "+" to "-" so don't try to confuse us with

Grant Edwards                   grante             Yow!  I love ROCK 'N
                                  at               ROLL! I memorized the
                               visi.com            all WORDS to "WIPE-OUT"

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