# Why can't e^iπ be written in the form Rcos(x-a)

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So, I understand that can usually be written in the form , where and is equal to blah blah blah..

But since ,

Obviously algebraically, I understand why it's , but intuitively, why can't it be written in this form? I've tried it for other coefficients of and it seems that must be imaginary [is that possible?]. I just found it interesting and would kind of like an explanation as to why it only works for real numbers, thanks

But since ,

Obviously algebraically, I understand why it's , but intuitively, why can't it be written in this form? I've tried it for other coefficients of and it seems that must be imaginary [is that possible?]. I just found it interesting and would kind of like an explanation as to why it only works for real numbers, thanks

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#2

(Original post by

So, I understand that can usually be written in the form , where and is equal to blah blah blah..

But since ,

Obviously algebraically, I understand why it's , but intuitively, why can't it be written in this form? I've tried it for other coefficients of and it seems that must be imaginary [is that possible?]. I just found it interesting and would kind of like an explanation as to why it only works for real numbers, thanks

**Callum Scott**)So, I understand that can usually be written in the form , where and is equal to blah blah blah..

But since ,

Obviously algebraically, I understand why it's , but intuitively, why can't it be written in this form? I've tried it for other coefficients of and it seems that must be imaginary [is that possible?]. I just found it interesting and would kind of like an explanation as to why it only works for real numbers, thanks

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(Original post by

e^(ipi) = cos pi + isin(pi) = cos pi = cos (pi - 0) so it's already in that form with R = 1 and a = 0

**davros**)e^(ipi) = cos pi + isin(pi) = cos pi = cos (pi - 0) so it's already in that form with R = 1 and a = 0

Edit: Turns out I can't change the title, dammit

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#5

I actually thought you could probably do this if you allowed R and a to be complex, but turns out it doesn't work:

We want to find R, a such that

e^iz = cos z + i sin z = R (cos z cos a + sin z sin a)

setting z = 0 we have R cos a = 1

setting z = pi/2 we have R sin a = i

dividing we find tan a = i, that is, sin a /cos a = i and so i sin a / cos a = -1.

Since e^ia - e^-ia = 2i sin a and e^ia+e-ia = 2 cos a, we must have . Writing s = ia, this is:

from which we see we must have and so . Which isn't terribly helpful (I'm not sure if you can make it work if you're prepared to deal with this quantity, but I can't see it being fruitful).

Not sure if this sheds any light on anything to be honest...

We want to find R, a such that

e^iz = cos z + i sin z = R (cos z cos a + sin z sin a)

setting z = 0 we have R cos a = 1

setting z = pi/2 we have R sin a = i

dividing we find tan a = i, that is, sin a /cos a = i and so i sin a / cos a = -1.

Since e^ia - e^-ia = 2i sin a and e^ia+e-ia = 2 cos a, we must have . Writing s = ia, this is:

from which we see we must have and so . Which isn't terribly helpful (I'm not sure if you can make it work if you're prepared to deal with this quantity, but I can't see it being fruitful).

Not sure if this sheds any light on anything to be honest...

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(Original post by

I actually thought you could probably do this if you allowed R and a to be complex, but turns out it doesn't work:

We want to find R, a such that

e^iz = cos z + i sin z = R (cos z cos a + sin z sin a)

setting z = 0 we have R cos a = 1

setting z = pi/2 we have R sin a = i

dividing we find tan a = i, that is, sin a /cos a = i and so i sin a / cos a = -1.

Since e^ia - e^-ia = 2i sin a and e^ia+e-ia = 2 cos a, we must have . Writing s = ia, this is:

from which we see we must have and so . Which isn't terribly helpful (I'm not sure if you can make it work if you're prepared to deal with this quantity, but I can't see it being fruitful).

Not sure if this sheds any light on anything to be honest...

**DFranklin**)I actually thought you could probably do this if you allowed R and a to be complex, but turns out it doesn't work:

We want to find R, a such that

e^iz = cos z + i sin z = R (cos z cos a + sin z sin a)

setting z = 0 we have R cos a = 1

setting z = pi/2 we have R sin a = i

dividing we find tan a = i, that is, sin a /cos a = i and so i sin a / cos a = -1.

Since e^ia - e^-ia = 2i sin a and e^ia+e-ia = 2 cos a, we must have . Writing s = ia, this is:

from which we see we must have and so . Which isn't terribly helpful (I'm not sure if you can make it work if you're prepared to deal with this quantity, but I can't see it being fruitful).

Not sure if this sheds any light on anything to be honest...

Substituting into

Then, <- what I got before anyway

So in essence, does , which doesn't really mean

**anything**, but if it does mean that, I'll take it, haha.

I was just perplexed as to the conceptual, non-mathematical reasoning behind why complex numbers can't be written in this manner. It all seems a bit weird.

Could it be that when you plot 2 graphs of and that adding them sort of represents their interference with each other, but purely real and purely imaginary functions have a sort of inherent, natural perpedicularity to them. I've gotten to the point where I have no idea what I'm even saying anymore, I just think it's awesome how they can't be merged together; and if it does mean whatever I just mumbled on about, that's pretty awesome. Nonetheless, it's still awesome.

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#7

DFranklin has put his finger on it, but maybe I could elaborate just a little more...

If you take everthing in sight as being defined in the complex plane, then you still come out with these equations:

and therefore

and

The point is that the arctan function is well behaved when you restrict attention to the real line - there's always a solution. When you extend attention to the complex plane, this is no longer the case. For example has no finite solutions. Similarly, the equation in can end up giving an answer zero.

As an extra credit exercise: do the values of that fail to give an answer for (the "poles" of ) corresond to the values that fail to give a non-zero answer for ?

If you take everthing in sight as being defined in the complex plane, then you still come out with these equations:

and therefore

and

The point is that the arctan function is well behaved when you restrict attention to the real line - there's always a solution. When you extend attention to the complex plane, this is no longer the case. For example has no finite solutions. Similarly, the equation in can end up giving an answer zero.

As an extra credit exercise: do the values of that fail to give an answer for (the "poles" of ) corresond to the values that fail to give a non-zero answer for ?

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#8

I should mention that the formulae in the complex domain do work as long as you keep away from these "tricky" points. For example, messing around with Mathematica will give you

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#9

for fixed constants and for a complex variable . Crunch through the equations and you get to the simultaneous equations I stated above. What I am saying is that there are solutions to these equations except for certain circumstances involving the values of and

So the whole attempt fails for *any* complex number, no?

It's a very nice question though.

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#10

(Original post by

DFranklin has put his finger on it, but maybe I could elaborate just a little more...

If you take everthing in sight as being defined in the complex plane, then you still come out with these equations:

and therefore

and

**Gregorius**)DFranklin has put his finger on it, but maybe I could elaborate just a little more...

If you take everthing in sight as being defined in the complex plane, then you still come out with these equations:

and therefore

and

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#11

However, I think that you have changed the original question posed the OP, who is an A level student, I think. As originally posed, I think that it is correct to state that there are no solutions, as he was explicitly looking for a solution based on i.e. with

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#12

(Original post by

However, I think that you have changed the original question posed the OP, who is an A level student, I think. As originally posed, I think that it is correct to state that there are no solutions, as he was explicitly looking for a solution based on i.e. with

**atsruser**)However, I think that you have changed the original question posed the OP, who is an A level student, I think. As originally posed, I think that it is correct to state that there are no solutions, as he was explicitly looking for a solution based on i.e. with

**why**this was happening; asking for intuition. OP had pointed out that he understood the algebraic manipulation and how this arrived at the conclusion of no solution for this particular case.

In order to answer this more general question, one has to generalize the original observation; what we mathematicians do all the time!

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#13

(Original post by

[user=94857]

and

As an extra credit exercise: do the values of that fail to give an answer for (the "poles" of ) corresond to the values that fail to give a non-zero answer for ?

**Gregorius**)[user=94857]

and

As an extra credit exercise: do the values of that fail to give an answer for (the "poles" of ) corresond to the values that fail to give a non-zero answer for ?

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