Complex analysis, traditionally known as the
theory of functions of a complex variable, is the branch of
mathematical analysisMathematical analysis, which mathematicians refer to simply as analysis, has its beginnings in the rigorous formulation of infinitesimal calculus. It is a branch of pure mathematics that includes the theories of differentiation, integration and measure, limits, infinite series, and analytic functions...
that investigates
functionsIn mathematics, a function associates one quantity, the argument of the function, also known as the input, with another quantity, the value of the function, also known as the output. A function assigns exactly one output to each input. The argument and the value may be real numbers, but they can...
of complex numbers. It is useful in many branches of mathematics, including
number theoryNumber theory is a branch of pure mathematics devoted primarily to the study of the integers. Number theorists study prime numbers as well...
and
applied mathematicsApplied mathematics is a branch of mathematics that concerns itself with mathematical methods that are typically used in science, engineering, business, and industry. Thus, "applied mathematics" is a mathematical science with specialized knowledge...
; as well as in
physicsPhysics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...
, including hydrodynamics,
thermodynamicsThermodynamics is a physical science that studies the effects on material bodies, and on radiation in regions of space, of transfer of heat and of work done on or by the bodies or radiation...
, and
electrical engineeringElectrical engineering is a field of engineering that generally deals with the study and application of electricity, electronics and electromagnetism. The field first became an identifiable occupation in the late nineteenth century after commercialization of the electric telegraph and electrical...
.
Murray R. SpiegelMurray Ralph Spiegel was an author of technical books on applied mathematics.Spiegel received his Ph.D. in 1949 from Cornell University. He taught at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and in 1957 became a full professor there. Bibliography :...
described complex analysis as "one of the most beautiful as well as useful branches of Mathematics".
Complex analysis is particularly concerned with the
analytic functionIn mathematics, an analytic function is a function that is locally given by a convergent power series. There exist both real analytic functions and complex analytic functions, categories that are similar in some ways, but different in others...
s of complex variables (or, more generally,
meromorphic functionIn complex analysis, a meromorphic function on an open subset D of the complex plane is a function that is holomorphic on all D except a set of isolated points, which are poles for the function...
s). Because the separate
realIn mathematics, a real number is a value that represents a quantity along a continuum, such as 5 , 4/3 , 8.6 , √2 and π...
and
imaginaryAn imaginary number is any number whose square is a real number less than zero. When any real number is squared, the result is never negative, but the square of an imaginary number is always negative...
parts of any analytic function must satisfy
Laplace's equationIn mathematics, Laplace's equation is a secondorder partial differential equation named after PierreSimon Laplace who first studied its properties. This is often written as:where ∆ = ∇² is the Laplace operator and \varphi is a scalar function...
, complex analysis is widely applicable to twodimensional problems in
physicsPhysics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...
.
History
Complex analysis is one of the classical branches in mathematics with roots in the 19th century and just prior. Important names are Euler,
GaussJohann Carl Friedrich Gauss was a German mathematician and scientist who contributed significantly to many fields, including number theory, statistics, analysis, differential geometry, geodesy, geophysics, electrostatics, astronomy and optics.Sometimes referred to as the Princeps mathematicorum...
, Riemann, Cauchy, Weierstrass, and many more in the 20th century. Complex analysis, in particular the theory of conformal mappings, has many physical applications and is also used throughout
analytic number theoryIn mathematics, analytic number theory is a branch of number theory that uses methods from mathematical analysis to solve problems about the integers. It is often said to have begun with Dirichlet's introduction of Dirichlet Lfunctions to give the first proof of Dirichlet's theorem on arithmetic...
. In modern times, it has become very popular through a new boost from
complex dynamicsComplex dynamics is the study of dynamical systems defined by iteration of functions on complex number spaces. Complex analytic dynamics is the study of the dynamics of specifically analytic functions.Techniques:*General** Montel's theorem...
and the pictures of
fractalA fractal has been defined as "a rough or fragmented geometric shape that can be split into parts, each of which is a reducedsize copy of the whole," a property called selfsimilarity...
s produced by iterating holomorphic functions. Another important application of complex analysis is in
string theoryString theory is an active research framework in particle physics that attempts to reconcile quantum mechanics and general relativity. It is a contender for a theory of everything , a manner of describing the known fundamental forces and matter in a mathematically complete system...
which studies conformal invariants
quantum field theoryQuantum field theory provides a theoretical framework for constructing quantum mechanical models of systems classically parametrized by an infinite number of dynamical degrees of freedom, that is, fields and manybody systems. It is the natural and quantitative language of particle physics and...
.
Complex functions
A complex function is one in which the
independent variableThe terms "dependent variable" and "independent variable" are used in similar but subtly different ways in mathematics and statistics as part of the standard terminology in those subjects...
and the dependent variable are both complex numbers. More precisely, a complex function is a function whose domain and
rangeIn mathematics, the range of a function refers to either the codomain or the image of the function, depending upon usage. This ambiguity is illustrated by the function f that maps real numbers to real numbers with f = x^2. Some books say that range of this function is its codomain, the set of all...
are
subsetIn mathematics, especially in set theory, a set A is a subset of a set B if A is "contained" inside B. A and B may coincide. The relationship of one set being a subset of another is called inclusion or sometimes containment...
s of the
complex planeIn mathematics, the complex plane or zplane is a geometric representation of the complex numbers established by the real axis and the orthogonal imaginary axis...
.
For any complex function, both the independent variable and the dependent variable may be separated into
realIn mathematics, a real number is a value that represents a quantity along a continuum, such as 5 , 4/3 , 8.6 , √2 and π...
and
imaginaryAn imaginary number is any number whose square is a real number less than zero. When any real number is squared, the result is never negative, but the square of an imaginary number is always negative...
parts:
 and

 where and are realvalued functions.
In other words, the components of the function
f(
z),
 and

can be interpreted as realvalued functions of the two real variables,
x and
y.
The basic concepts of complex analysis are often introduced by extending the elementary real functions (e.g., exponentials, logarithms, and trigonometric functions) into the complex domain.
Holomorphic functions
Holomorphic functions are complex functions defined on an
open subsetThe concept of an open set is fundamental to many areas of mathematics, especially pointset topology and metric topology. Intuitively speaking, a set U is open if any point x in U can be "moved" a small amount in any direction and still be in the set U...
of the complex plane that are
differentiableIn calculus , a differentiable function is a function whose derivative exists at each point in its domain. The graph of a differentiable function must have a nonvertical tangent line at each point in its domain...
. Complex differentiability has much stronger consequences than usual (real) differentiability. For instance, holomorphic functions are infinitely differentiable, whereas some real differentiable functions are not. Most elementary functions, including the
exponential functionIn mathematics, the exponential function is the function ex, where e is the number such that the function ex is its own derivative. The exponential function is used to model a relationship in which a constant change in the independent variable gives the same proportional change In mathematics,...
, the
trigonometric functionIn mathematics, the trigonometric functions are functions of an angle. They are used to relate the angles of a triangle to the lengths of the sides of a triangle...
s, and all
polynomial functionsIn mathematics, a polynomial is an expression of finite length constructed from variables and constants, using only the operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and nonnegative integer exponents...
, are holomorphic.
See also:
analytic functionIn mathematics, an analytic function is a function that is locally given by a convergent power series. There exist both real analytic functions and complex analytic functions, categories that are similar in some ways, but different in others...
,
holomorphic sheafIn mathematics, more specifically complex analysis, a holomorphic sheaf is a natural generalization of the sheaf of holomorphic functions on a complex manifold.Definition:...
and
vector bundleIn mathematics, a vector bundle is a topological construction that makes precise the idea of a family of vector spaces parameterized by another space X : to every point x of the space X we associate a vector space V in such a way that these vector spaces fit together...
s.
Major results
One central tool in complex analysis is the
line integralIn mathematics, a line integral is an integral where the function to be integrated is evaluated along a curve.The function to be integrated may be a scalar field or a vector field...
. The integral around a closed path of a function that is holomorphic everywhere inside the area bounded by the closed path is always zero; this is the Cauchy integral theorem. The values of a holomorphic function inside a disk can be computed by a certain path integral on the disk's boundary (
Cauchy's integral formulaIn mathematics, Cauchy's integral formula, named after AugustinLouis Cauchy, is a central statement in complex analysis. It expresses the fact that a holomorphic function defined on a disk is completely determined by its values on the boundary of the disk, and it provides integral formulas for all...
). Path integrals in the complex plane are often used to determine complicated real integrals, and here the theory of
residueIn mathematics, more specifically complex analysis, the residue is a complex number proportional to the contour integral of a meromorphic function along a path enclosing one of its singularities...
s among others is useful (see
methods of contour integrationIn the mathematical field of complex analysis, contour integration is a method of evaluating certain integrals along paths in the complex plane.Contour integration is closely related to the calculus of residues, a methodology of complex analysis....
). If a function has a
pole or
singularity at some point, that is, at that point where its values "blow up" and have no finite boundary, then one can compute the function's residue at that pole. These residues can be used to compute path integrals involving the function; this is the content of the powerful
residue theoremThe residue theorem, sometimes called Cauchy's Residue Theorem, in complex analysis is a powerful tool to evaluate line integrals of analytic functions over closed curves and can often be used to compute real integrals as well. It generalizes the Cauchy integral theorem and Cauchy's integral formula...
. The remarkable behavior of holomorphic functions near essential singularities is described by Picard's Theorem. Functions that have only poles but no essential singularities are called meromorphic.
Laurent seriesIn mathematics, the Laurent series of a complex function f is a representation of that function as a power series which includes terms of negative degree. It may be used to express complex functions in cases where...
are similar to
Taylor seriesIn mathematics, a Taylor series is a representation of a function as an infinite sum of terms that are calculated from the values of the function's derivatives at a single point....
but can be used to study the behavior of functions near singularities.
A bounded function that is holomorphic in the entire complex plane must be constant; this is
Liouville's theoremIn complex analysis, Liouville's theorem, named after Joseph Liouville, states that every bounded entire function must be constant. That is, every holomorphic function f for which there exists a positive number M such that f ≤ M for all z in C is constant.The theorem is considerably improved by...
. It can be used to provide a natural and short proof for the
fundamental theorem of algebraThe fundamental theorem of algebra states that every nonconstant singlevariable polynomial with complex coefficients has at least one complex root...
which states that the
fieldIn abstract algebra, a field is a commutative ring whose nonzero elements form a group under multiplication. As such it is an algebraic structure with notions of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, satisfying certain axioms...
of complex numbers is
algebraically closedIn mathematics, a field F is said to be algebraically closed if every polynomial with one variable of degree at least 1, with coefficients in F, has a root in F.Examples:...
.
If a function is holomorphic throughout a simply connected domain then its values are fully determined by its values on any smaller subdomain. The function on the larger domain is said to be
analytically continuedIn complex analysis, a branch of mathematics, analytic continuation is a technique to extend the domain of a given analytic function. Analytic continuation often succeeds in defining further values of a function, for example in a new region where an infinite series representation in terms of which...
from its values on the smaller domain. This allows the extension of the definition of functions, such as the
Riemann zeta function, which are initially defined in terms of infinite sums that converge only on limited domains to almost the entire complex plane. Sometimes, as in the case of the
natural logarithmThe natural logarithm is the logarithm to the base e, where e is an irrational and transcendental constant approximately equal to 2.718281828...
, it is impossible to analytically continue a holomorphic function to a nonsimply connected domain in the complex plane but it is possible to extend it to a holomorphic function on a closely related surface known as a
Riemann surfaceIn mathematics, particularly in complex analysis, a Riemann surface, first studied by and named after Bernhard Riemann, is a onedimensional complex manifold. Riemann surfaces can be thought of as "deformed versions" of the complex plane: locally near every point they look like patches of the...
.
All this refers to complex analysis in one variable. There is also a very rich theory of
complex analysis in more than one complex dimensionThe theory of functions of several complex variables is the branch of mathematics dealing with functionson the space Cn of ntuples of complex numbers...
in which the analytic properties such as power series expansion carry over whereas most of the geometric properties of holomorphic functions in one complex dimension (such as conformality) do not carry over. The
Riemann mapping theorem about the conformal relationship of certain domains in the complex plane, which may be the most important result in the onedimensional theory, fails dramatically in higher dimensions.
See also
 Complex dynamics
Complex dynamics is the study of dynamical systems defined by iteration of functions on complex number spaces. Complex analytic dynamics is the study of the dynamics of specifically analytic functions.Techniques:*General** Montel's theorem...
 List of complex analysis topics
 Real analysis
Real analysis, is a branch of mathematical analysis dealing with the set of real numbers and functions of a real variable. In particular, it deals with the analytic properties of real functions and sequences, including convergence and limits of sequences of real numbers, the calculus of the real...
 Runge's theorem
In complex analysis, Runge's theorem, also known as Runge's approximation theorem, named after the German Mathematician Carl Runge, and put forward by him in the year 1885, states the following: If K is a compact subset of C , A is a set containing at least one complex number from every bounded...
 Several complex variables
The theory of functions of several complex variables is the branch of mathematics dealing with functionson the space Cn of ntuples of complex numbers...
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