Why is Complex number notation the way it is?

Andrew Dalke dalke at dalkescientific.com
Sun Dec 23 11:54:45 CET 2001

Steven Feil:
> ...

Hmmm.. I can't tell if this is meant as a joke or not.
Something must be wrong with my discriminator.  I'll
treat it as real, but bear in mind that the poster could
have been exaggerating this viewpoint for fun.

>I was schooled as a Physicists dammit!!
>The imaginary number is i!!!

So was I.  Guess it doesn't bother me as much.  It's like the
statement "scale everything so c = h/ = 1" -- I just stick a
"Let j = i" at the beginning and go from there.

Or maybe it's because I think of the complex plane, so I'm
already using x-hat and y-hat in my head...  I know, that's
why I'm not as good at thinking about quaternions.

[this could be a joke on the frustration many beginning
students have when they have to switch notation systems
between different domains]

>Electric current ALWAYS flows from Positive TO Negative.
>   charge carrier may flow from negative to positive, such as e- and
>   Cl- but Na+ flows from positive to negative. If you don't believe
>   that Na+ and Cl- can flow, try taking a bath in salt water and throw
>   in a toaster.

So if you're at SLAC, and you have a packet of electrons
going from one end to the other, you'll still insist that
current is flowing the other way?  Even if you can watch
the chunk of current as it moves down the beamline?  What
if it's anti-electrons?  SLAC doesn't do it, but what about

In chemistry they talk about proton transport -- [H+].  That
threw me off until they politely explained that the proton
was always attached to something, so it was never a raw proton.
It wasn't even the same proton.

[comment about the bathwater could also be a subtle jibe on
some people's lack of chemistry knowledge]

>IE=P is ALWAYS true, even with AC and a phase factor
>   Because instantaneous current times instantaneous voltage is equal
>   to instantaneous power! (in physics everything is instantaneous)

This is why the post has to be a joke.  Nothing is instantaneous
in physics -- special relativity.  Maybe the post is a joke on the
single-minded hubris of some physicists?

Or maybe I'm really wrong on the physics and I need to turn
in my degree?

                    dalke at dalkescientific.com

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