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How do you get the complex cube root of 8?

1 Answer
Jan 3, 2016

Answer:

The cube roots of #8# are #2#, #2omega# and #2omega^2# where #omega=-1/2+sqrt(3)/2 i# is the primitive Complex cube root of #1#.

Explanation:

Here are the cube roots of #8# plotted in the Complex plane on the circle of radius #2#:

graph{(x^2+y^2-4)((x-2)^2+y^2-0.01)((x+1)^2+(y-sqrt(3))^2-0.01)((x+1)^2+(y+sqrt(3))^2-0.01) = 0 [-5, 5, -2.5, 2.5]}

They can be written as:

#2(cos(0)+i sin(0)) = 2#

#2(cos((2pi)/3) + i sin((2pi)/3)) = -1 + sqrt(3)i = 2omega#

#2(cos((4pi)/3) + i sin((4pi)/3)) = -1 - sqrt(3)i = 2omega^2#

One way of finding these cube roots of #8# is to find all of the roots of #x^3-8 = 0#.

#x^3-8 = (x-2)(x^2+2x+4)#

The quadratic factor can be solved using the quadratic formula:

#x = (-b +-sqrt(b^2-4ac))/(2a)#

#= (-2+-sqrt(2^2-(4xx1xx4)))/(2*1)#

#=(-2+-sqrt(-12))/2#

#=-1+-sqrt(3)i#