Category Archives: pictures

Games with factorization diagram cards

Since I published a deck of factorization diagram cards last September, a few teachers have picked up copies of the cards and started using them with their students. I’ve started collecting ideas for games you can play using the cards, … Continue reading

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Computing sums of primitive roots

Remember this picture? It, and other pictures like it, express the fact that for a given , if we take the primitive roots for each of the divisors of , together they make up exactly the set of all th … Continue reading

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Sums of primitive roots

In my previous post, we saw that adding up all the complex th roots of unity always yields zero (unless , in which case the sum is ). Intuitively, this is because the roots are symmetrically distributed around the unit … Continue reading

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Sums and symmetry

Let’s continue our exploration of roots of unity. Recall that for any positive integer , there are complex numbers, evenly spaced around the unit circle, whose th power is equal to . These are called the th roots of unity. … Continue reading

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Primitive roots of unity

So we have now seen that there are always different complex th roots of unity, that is, complex numbers whose th power is equal to , equally spaced around the circumference of the unit circle. Consider the first th root … Continue reading

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Complex multiplication: proof

In my previous post, I claimed that when multiplying two complex numbers, their lengths multiply and their angles add, like this: In particular, this means that there are always different complex numbers whose th power is equal to : they … Continue reading

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Complex multiplication and roots of unity

If played around with the question from my previous post, you probably found something like the following: That is, as the powers of we get , , and with all possible sign combinations. Of course, since , if we continue … Continue reading

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