William Rowan Hamilton

William Rowan Hamilton
William Rowan Hamilton

Sir William Rowan Hamilton (* 4. August 1805 in Dublin; † 2. September 1865 with Dunsink) was Irish - an English mathematician and physicist.

Hamilton studied mathematics in Dublin and became already 1827 professor for astronomy as well asroyal astronomer (Royal Astronomer) for Ireland.

In early years busy itself Hamilton with jet systems and the geometrical optics. With only 18 years he discovered the Hamilton extremal principle important for physics, which means that each movement of a mechanical system runs in such a manner,that the effect is stationary.

<math> \ delta S = \ delta \ int L (q, \ DOT q, t) dt = 0 </math>

With the help of the variation calculation the Euler lying rank equations follow as necessary condition from the Hamilton principle.

Later it concerned itself with quaternions (hypercomplex numbers), those nowadays for example application in that Computergrafik find.


Hamilton was born in Dublin in the Dominick Street 36 as a son of the lawyer Archibald Hamilton. It was educated by its uncle, the anglikanischen priest and linguist James Hamilton and showed themselves soon as a miracle child. At the age ofseven years he had learned already considerably Hebrew, and before that 13. Birthday already twelve languages, among them except the classical and modern European languages also Persian, Arab, Hindi, Sanskrit and Malaiisch. Up to the end of its life it read often Persian andarabische Texte zur Entspannung.

Hamiltons mathematische Entwicklung scheint völlig ohne Beteiligung anderer zustande gekommen zu sein, so dass man seine späteren Schriften keiner bestimmten Schule zuordnen kann, allenfalls einer eigenen "Hamilton-Schule". Young Hamilton was not only an excellent head computer, but seemed also occasionallyspecial fun to it to find, complicated formulas up to the last right-of-comma position to calculate exactly. At the age of twelve years it demanded Zerah Colburn out (a boy with “computing genius”, who arose in Dublin), and did not make themselves bad at all with the competition. With ten years devouredit latin an expenditure of Euklid, and with twelve seized it to Newton Arithmetica universalis, as introduction to the modern analysis. Hamilton turned into fast to the Principia ; with 17 he had understood a large part of it, beside some modern writings over analytic geometry and differential calculus.

At the same time Hamilton prepared college for the Trinity and had a part its time the classical authors to dedicate. In 17. Lebensjahr (1822) it began with Laplaces Mécanique Céleste. Nothing could fit better, around Hamilton's mathematicalTo promote, because Laplaces large work careful and often laborious work requires forces since more jeher of the reader. In the successful attack on this vault Hamilton's understanding received the final touch; since that time it dedicated itself excluding the mathematical research (although it itself always also over the progressin other sciences up to date held).

Hamilton discovered an important error in one of Laplaces derivations. Friends suggested, his notes to him in writing at Dr. To send John Brinkley (bishop von Cloyne and first royal astronomer). Brinkley recognized the enormous talent of the boy immediatelyand encouraged it friendly.

Hamilton's college career was unparalleled. Among the certainly above average competitors it was first in each subject and in each examination. It ranked among the few, which reached both in Greek and in physics Bestnoten. After numerous honours Hamilton would have surelyalso both gold medals with the final examinations get, if not an unexpected event had occurred: its appointment to the professor of the Dubliner university 1827, with hardly 22 years, as successors of Dr. Brinkley. The choice committee had had to request modest Hamilton before still to the candidacy.

Itwas not well prepared for his new posts perhaps particularly, because despite good knowledge in theoretical physics it had hardly been concerned with the practical activity of an astronomer. On the other hand by it, its time was also only expected as useful as possible into the service of theto set scientific progress, without definitions approximately to practical observation activity at the telescope.

1835 kept British as a secretary that Association for the Advancement OF Sience the knight impact to Hamilton. Larger honours followed fast, among them the choice to the president of the Royal Irish Academy 1837, andto the corresponding member of the academy of pc. Petersburg.


  • on A general method in dynamics. Dublin 1834
  • Lectures on of quaternion. Dublin 1853
  • of element OF of quaternion. (German: Leipzig 1882 - 1884)

see also: Hamilton operator, Hamilton function, Hamilton circle

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| | * Literature of and over William Rowan Hamilton in the catalog of the DDB



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