Development of the concept of complex number and it's educational implications

복소수 개념의 발달과 교육적 함의

  • Lee, Dong-Hwan (Korea Foundation for the Advancement of Science and Creativity)
  • Received : 2012.07.03
  • Accepted : 2012.08.16
  • Published : 2012.08.30


When imaginary numbers were first encountered in the 16th century, mathematicians were able to calculate the imaginary numbers the same as they are today. However, it required 200 years to mathematically acknowledge the existence of imaginary numbers. The new mathematical situation that arose with a development in mathematics required a harmony of real numbers and imaginary numbers. As a result, the concept of complex number became clear. A history behind the development of complex numbers involved a process of determining a comprehensive perspective that ties real numbers and imaginary numbers in a single category, complex numbers. This came after a resolution of conflict between real numbers and imaginary numbers. This study identified the new perspective and way of mathematical thinking emerging from resolving the conflicts. Also educational implications of the analysis were discussed.

본 논문은 복소수 개념이 정당화되는 과정에서 실수와 허수 사이의 관계가 어떻게 변화했는지를 살펴보았다. 허수가 처음 등장한 16세기에 수학자들은 현재와 동일하게 허수를 계산할 수 있었지만 허수를 수학적 대상으로 인정하기까지는 200여년의 시간이 필요했다. 수학이 발달하면서 나타나는 새로운 문제 상황이 실수와 허수의 조화를 요구하였고, 그 결과 복소수의 개념이 점차 명확해졌다. 복소수 개념 발달의 역사는 실수와 허수의 대립이 해소되어 실수와 허수를 복소수로 포괄할 수 있는 관점을 찾아가는 과정이었다. 실수와 허수가 어떤 점에서 대립을 하였고, 수학자들은 이러한 대립에 어떻게 대처하였는가에 분석의 초점을 두고, 실수와 허수의 관계를 정립하는 과정에서 나타난 새로운 사고방식이나 관점을 확인하고 그 영향을 살펴본다. 그리고 이러한 분석결과가 보여주는 교육적 함의를 기술하였다.



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