Sir William Rowan Hamilton

Sunday, April 23rd, 2017

Quotations of Sir William Hamilton

Who would not rather have the fame of Archimedes than that of his conqueror Marcellus?
Quoted in H Eves Mathematical Circles Revisited (Boston: Prindle, Weber and Schmidt, 1971).

I regard it as an inelegance, or imperfection, in quaternions, or rather in the state to which it has been hitherto unfolded, whenever it becomes or seems to become necessary to have recourse to x, y, z, etc..
Quoted in a letter from Tait to Cayley.

On earth there is nothing great but man; in man there is nothing great but mind.
Lectures on Metaphysics.

Time is said to have only one dimension, and space to have three dimensions. ... The mathematical quaternion partakes of both these elements; in technical language it may be said to be "time plus space", or "space plus time": and in this sense it has, or at least involves a reference to, four dimensions. And how the One of Time, of Space the Three, Might in the Chain of Symbols girdled be.
Quoted in Robert Percival Graves "Life of Sir William Rowan Hamilton" (1882- 1889).

He used to carry on, long trains of algebraic and arithmetical calculations in his mind, during which he was unconscious of the earthly necessity of eating; we used to bring in a ‘snack’ and leave it in his study, but a brief nod of recognition of the intrusion of the chop or cutlet was often the only result, and his thoughts went on soaring upwards.
William Edwin Hamilton (his elder son).