1.1. Definition and Simple Properties 5
and every non-zero element z has a mutiplicative inverse, that is, an element z−1
such that
(1.1.6) z ·
z−1
= 1.
The first of these follows immediately from the fact that C is a vector space
over R. The second is nearly as easy. If z = x + iy = 0, then a direct calculation
shows that
z−1
=
x iy
x2 + y2
=
x
x2 + y2

y
x2 + y2
i
satisfies (1.1.6). We conclude:
Theorem 1.1.5. With addition and multiplication defined as in Definition 1.1.1,
the complex numbers form a field.
Complex Conjugation and Modulus.
Definition 1.1.6. If z = x + iy is a complex number, then its complex conjugate,
denoted z, is defined by
z = x iy,
while its modulus, denoted |z|, is defined by
|z| = x2 + y2.
Note that the modulus, as defined above, is just the usual Euclidean norm in
the vector space R2. Thus, if z1,z2 C, then |z1 z2| is the Euclidean distance
from z1 to z2. The term modulus is traditional, but the terms norm and absolute
value are also commonly used to mean the same thing. We will use all three.
Note also that the two solutions of a quadratic equation with real coefficients
given in Example 1.1.3 are complex conjugates of each other. Thus, the solutions
to a quadratic equation with real coefficients occur in conjugate pairs. Quadratic
equations with complex coefficients also have roots and they are also given by the
quadratic formula. However, we cannot prove this until we prove that every complex
number has a square root. In fact, in Section 1.4 we will prove that every complex
number has roots of all orders.
For a complex number z = x + iy, the real number x is called the real part
of z and is denoted Re(z), while the number y is called the imaginary part of z
and is denoted Im(z). In graphing complex numbers using a rectilinear coordinate
system, x determines the coordinate on the horizontal axis, while y determines the
coordinate on the vertical axis.
Note that a complex number z is real if and only if z = z, and it is purely
imaginary if and only if z = −z. Note also, that if z = x + iy, then
Re(z) = x =
z + z
2
and Im(z) = y =
z z
2i
.
The elementary properties of conjugation and modulus are gathered together in the
next theorem.
Theorem 1.1.7. If z and w are complex numbers, then
(a) z = z;
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