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  • Print publication year: 2011
  • Online publication date: June 2012

14 - Complex variables


Throughout this book references have been made to results derived from the theory of complex variables. This theory thus becomes an integral part of the mathematics appropriate to physical applications. Indeed, so numerous and widespread are these applications that the whole of the next chapter is devoted to a systematic presentation of some of the more important ones and a summary of some of the others. This current chapter develops the general theory on which these applications are based. The difficulty with it, from the point of view of a book such as the present one, is that the underlying basis has a distinctly pure mathematics flavor.

Thus, to adopt a comprehensive rigorous approach would involve a large amount of groundwork in analysis, for example formulating precise definitions of continuity and differentiability, developing the theory of sets and making a detailed study of boundedness. Instead, we will be selective and pursue only those parts of the formal theory that are needed to establish the results used in the next chapter and elsewhere in this book.

In this spirit, the proofs that have been adopted for some of the standard results of complex variable theory have been chosen with an eye to simplicity rather than sophistication. This means that in some cases the imposed conditions are more stringent than would be strictly necessary if more sophisticated proofs were used; where this happens the less restrictive results are usually stated as well.