21 Sept 2010
University of Haifa
THE DISCOVERY OF THE QUATERNIONS
The Quaternions occupy a special role in the History of Mathematics, possessing a precise date of birth: October 16th, 1843, the day when their inceptor, William Rowan Hamilton (1805-1865) carved their defining equations on Broom Bridge in Dublin:
i2 = j2 = k2 = ijk = -1This talk is concerned with the actual discovery of these equations. An estonishingly brief way to arrive at them will be first presented. Is this the actual way of Hamilton's (or possible precursors') discovery?
No previous knowledge (including acquaintance with quaternons) is assumed.