Imaginary numbers could be needed to describe reality, new studies find

Imaginary numbers are necessary to accurately describe reality, two new studies have suggested.

Imaginary numbers are what you get when you take the square root of a negative number, and they have long been used in the most important equations of quantum mechanics, the branch of physics that describes the world of the very small. When you add imaginary numbers and real numbers, the two form complex numbers, which enable physicists to write out quantum equations in simple terms. But whether quantum theory needs these mathematical chimeras or just uses them as convenient shortcuts has long been controversial.