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Technically, you could do away with i entirely in QM and not lose generality. But then you'd be stuck with 4th order differential equations. At least that's what one of our Optics profs claimed. I never checked myself, because you do not want to do 4th order PDEs anyway, unless you're a mathmatician or some (other) kind of masochist.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Tue Mar 25th, 2008 at 02:41:11 PM EST
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Well, a complex differential equation can always be written as a real differential equation of twice the order.

It'd be nice if the battle were only against the right wingers, not half of the left on top of that — François in Paris
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Mar 26th, 2008 at 03:07:01 AM EST
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