NRICH has published a new module of free online resources, designed to encourage GCSE students to consider taking Further Mathematics at A-level by giving a taste of one of the mathematical topics they will explore. The resources introduce students to complex numbers, and were produced in collaboration with colleagues from the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford, Bath and Imperial College.

NRICH's new Adventures in Complex Numbers resources are designed to offer an accessible and engaging starting point introducing students to some of the ideas they’ll encounter when studying Further Mathematics. The resources are aimed at GCSE students, providing an opportunity to give students interested in a range of different subjects a real taste of Further Mathematics well before they make their A-level choices.

Crucially, the resources encourage students to explore complex numbers for themselves. Working in collaboration with Dr Vicky Neale from the University of Oxford, the NRICH team have devised a range of hands-on interactive resources to illustrate introductory questions about complex numbers, encouraging students to ask “What if...?” and giving them the tools to explore their ideas.

The interactive resources are accompanied by videos and articles exploring the day-to-day applications of complex numbers in the real world. Professor Chris Budd (University of Bath) and Professor Ahmer Wadee (Imperial College, London) discuss the crucial role that complex numbers play in the electricity networks that power our daily lives and how they help engineers keep structures safe and stable – as well as outlining some spectacular examples of what can go wrong! Meanwhile Dr Holly Krieger (University of Cambridge) illustrates the link between complex numbers and fractals, and how they build our insight and understanding of advanced mathematical ideas.

Designed to complement other initiatives raising awareness of the opportunities that taking Further Mathematics at A-level can open up, the hope is that GCSE students who enjoy the Adventures in Complex Numbers resources will gain a better sense of the possibilities offered by the subject, and be given more confidence to consider this when making their A-level choices. A link to the national Further Mathematics Support Programme is included.

Explore the Adventures in Complex Numbers module at nrich.maths.org/complexadventure.