The Imaginary Pet

Here is what may well be the nerdiest pet peeve you ever hear of. I don’t like the mathematical but imaginary number i. Even the fact that I have to press ctrl+i, i and then go through Word’s autocorrect features and undo the automatic capitalisation irritates me. But the thing that really irritates me is that it’s not real.

If you take a term like π, then you are talking about a real thing. If I had an accurate enough protractor and sharp enough knife I could even get you π pies. That’s three complete pies and just over one tenth of a fourth pie. But i is not real. i is the square root of minus one (√-1). That is not a real number. The square root of one is one or minus one (√1 = 1  or -1). This works because squaring either 1 or -1 gives you 1 (1­­­­­2 =  1 x 1 = 1, -1­­­­­2 =  -1 x -1 = 1). There is no number that when squared gives minus one, or any other negative number! (?2 = -1, where ? = NOTHING, THERE IS NO NUMBER HERE. NO NUMBER YOU CAN IMAGINE CAN WORK.) There cannot be.

So mathematicians just invented i. This is a made-up number that when squared does equal -1 (i2 = -1. How? Because I say so. That’s how). I can get you 6 cups, I can get you e pints of beer (just less than three), I can even get you Y grams of good quality weed (I know a guy that knows a guy… also this is just over one half of a gram). But I can’t you get you i anything of anything.

Using i in maths is like using people in maths. What is ShakespeareChauser? Or Tom – Jerry? (Tom minus Jerry is a tragedy, is what it is! Bring back Tom and Jerry!) “I’ll have i pints of Guiness, please” Of course, sir. HAVE A FUN TIME THINKING ABOUT THEM!

You know when you notice a typo in your picture and you just can’t be bothered to fix it… yeah.

3 thoughts on “The Imaginary Pet”

      No one, that’s who. They looked right at the issue and thought “hey, do you know what would make no sense at all… square roots of negative numbers?”
      “True, that would make no sense”
      “We should make it up”

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