From the May 2009 issue

Bob Berman’s Strange Universe: Facing reality

July 2009: What's real becomes blurry when scientists question familiar concepts.
By | Published: May 26, 2009 | Last updated on May 18, 2023
Bob Berman

Real and unreal get thrown around a lot, in pop culture and also in science. Most of us first encountered these notions in high school math when forced to learn about imaginary numbers. In real life, there’s no such thing as the square root of -1. But engineers use v-1 for actual applications like circuit design and fluid dynamics. Does that make it sort of real?