Sir William Rowan Hamilton MRIA (3 August 1805 – 2 September 1865) was an Irish mathematician, Andrews Professor of Astronomy at Trinity College Dublin, and Royal Astronomer of Ireland.

He retained much of his knowledge of languages to the end of his life, often reading Persian and Arabic in his spare time, although he had long since stopped studying languages, and used them just for relaxation. In September 1813, the American calculating prodigy Zerah Colburn was being exhibited in Dublin.

His first discovery was in an early paper that he communicated in 1823 to Dr.

Brinkley, who presented it under the title of "Caustics" in 1824 to the Royal Irish Academy.

Between 1825 and 1828 the paper grew to an immense size, mostly by the additional details that the committee had suggested.

He studied both classics and mathematics (BA in 1827, MA in 1837).

As he had received extremely high grades for both the Classics and Science, it was not too unusual that, on 16 June 1827, only 21 years old and still an undergraduate, he was elected Royal Astronomer of Ireland and came to live at Dunsink Observatory where he remained until his death in 1865. In his early years at Dunsink, Hamilton observed the heavens quite regularly.

Until this period Hamilton himself seems not to have fully understood either the nature or importance of optics, as later he intended to apply his method to dynamics. In 1827, Hamilton presented a theory of a single function, now known as Hamilton's principal function, that brings together mechanics, optics, and mathematics, and which helped to establish the wave theory of light.

The Royal Irish Academy paper was finally entitled "Theory of Systems of Rays" (23 April 1827), and the first part was printed in 1828 in the Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy.

This discovery is still known by its original name, "conical refraction". The step from optics to dynamics in the application of the method of "Varying Action" was made in 1827, and communicated to the Royal Society, in whose Philosophical Transactions for 1834 and 1835 there are two papers on the subject, which, like the "Systems of Rays", display a mastery over symbols and a flow of mathematical language almost unequaled.

Between 1825 and 1828 the paper grew to an immense size, mostly by the additional details that the committee had suggested.

The Royal Irish Academy paper was finally entitled "Theory of Systems of Rays" (23 April 1827), and the first part was printed in 1828 in the Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy.

He was rejected again in 1831 by Ellen de Vere, a sister of the poet Aubrey Thomas de Vere (1814-1902).

He proposed it when he first predicted its existence in the third supplement to his "Systems of Rays", read in 1832.

His proposal to Helen Marie Bayly, a country preacher's daughter, was accepted, and they married in 1833.

Hamilton had three children with Bayly: William Edwin Hamilton (born 1834), Archibald Henry (born 1835), and Helen Elizabeth (born 1840).

The more important contents of the second and third parts appeared in the three voluminous supplements (to the first part) which were published in the same Transactions, and in the two papers "On a General Method in Dynamics", which appeared in the Philosophical Transactions in 1834 and 1835.

This discovery is still known by its original name, "conical refraction". The step from optics to dynamics in the application of the method of "Varying Action" was made in 1827, and communicated to the Royal Society, in whose Philosophical Transactions for 1834 and 1835 there are two papers on the subject, which, like the "Systems of Rays", display a mastery over symbols and a flow of mathematical language almost unequaled.

The first award, in 1834, was for his work on conical refraction, for which he also received the Royal Medal of the Royal Society the following year.

Hamilton had three children with Bayly: William Edwin Hamilton (born 1834), Archibald Henry (born 1835), and Helen Elizabeth (born 1840).

The more important contents of the second and third parts appeared in the three voluminous supplements (to the first part) which were published in the same Transactions, and in the two papers "On a General Method in Dynamics", which appeared in the Philosophical Transactions in 1834 and 1835.

This discovery is still known by its original name, "conical refraction". The step from optics to dynamics in the application of the method of "Varying Action" was made in 1827, and communicated to the Royal Society, in whose Philosophical Transactions for 1834 and 1835 there are two papers on the subject, which, like the "Systems of Rays", display a mastery over symbols and a flow of mathematical language almost unequaled.

He was to win it again in 1848. In 1835, being secretary to the meeting of the British Association which was held that year in Dublin, he was knighted by the lord-lieutenant.

He studied both classics and mathematics (BA in 1827, MA in 1837).

Other honours rapidly succeeded, among which his election in 1837 to the president's chair in the Royal Irish Academy, and the rare distinction of being made a corresponding member of the Saint Petersburg Academy of Sciences.

Hamilton had three children with Bayly: William Edwin Hamilton (born 1834), Archibald Henry (born 1835), and Helen Elizabeth (born 1840).

However, in 1840, Benjamin Olinde Rodrigues had already reached a result that amounted to their discovery in all but name. Hamilton was looking for ways of extending complex numbers (which can be viewed as points on a 2-dimensional plane) to higher spatial dimensions. He failed to find a useful 3-dimensional system (in modern terminology, he failed to find a real, three-dimensional skew-field), but in working with four dimensions he created quaternions.

Later, in 1864, the newly established United States National Academy of Sciences elected its first Foreign Associates, and decided to put Hamilton's name on top of their list. ==Quaternions== The other great contribution Hamilton made to mathematical science was his discovery of quaternions in 1843.

He was to win it again in 1848. In 1835, being secretary to the meeting of the British Association which was held that year in Dublin, he was knighted by the lord-lieutenant.

When his work was assembled in 1853, the book Lectures on Quaternions had "formed the subject of successive courses of lectures, delivered in 1848 and subsequent years, in the Halls of Trinity College, Dublin".

When his work was assembled in 1853, the book Lectures on Quaternions had "formed the subject of successive courses of lectures, delivered in 1848 and subsequent years, in the Halls of Trinity College, Dublin".

Later, in 1864, the newly established United States National Academy of Sciences elected its first Foreign Associates, and decided to put Hamilton's name on top of their list. ==Quaternions== The other great contribution Hamilton made to mathematical science was his discovery of quaternions in 1843.

Sir William Rowan Hamilton MRIA (3 August 1805 – 2 September 1865) was an Irish mathematician, Andrews Professor of Astronomy at Trinity College Dublin, and Royal Astronomer of Ireland.

He died on 2 September 1865, following a severe attack of gout.

As he had received extremely high grades for both the Classics and Science, it was not too unusual that, on 16 June 1827, only 21 years old and still an undergraduate, he was elected Royal Astronomer of Ireland and came to live at Dunsink Observatory where he remained until his death in 1865. In his early years at Dunsink, Hamilton observed the heavens quite regularly.

His son William Edwin Hamilton brought the Elements of Quaternions, a hefty volume of 762 pages, to publication in 1866.

As copies ran short, a second edition was prepared by Charles Jasper Joly, when the book was split into two volumes, the first appearing 1899 and the second in 1901.

As copies ran short, a second edition was prepared by Charles Jasper Joly, when the book was split into two volumes, the first appearing 1899 and the second in 1901.

Trinity College Dublin marked the year by launching the Hamilton Mathematics Institute. Two commemorative stamps were issued by Ireland in 1943 to mark the centenary of the announcement of quaternions.

This event marks the discovery of the quaternion group. A plaque under the bridge was unveiled by the Taoiseach Éamon de Valera, himself a mathematician and student of quaternions, on 13 November 1958.

Since 1989, the National University of Ireland, Maynooth has organised a pilgrimage called the Hamilton Walk, in which mathematicians take a walk from Dunsink Observatory to the bridge, where no trace of the carving remains, though a stone plaque does commemorate the discovery. The quaternion involved abandoning commutativity, a radical step for the time.

The year 2005 was the 200th anniversary of Hamilton's birth and the Irish government designated that the Hamilton Year, celebrating Irish science.

A 10 Euros commemorative silver Proof coin was issued by the Central Bank of Ireland in 2005 to commemorate 200 years since his birth. The newest maintenance depot for the Dublin LUAS tram system has been named after him.

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