mgf1107lecture17 - MGF 1107 EXPLORATIONS IN MATHEMATICS...

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MGF 1107 – EXPLORATIONS IN MATHEMATICS LECTURE 17 William Rowan Hamilton In one sentence the author John Derbyshire describes the life of the Irish mathematician William Rowan Hamilton (1805-1865) as follows: “As a child he was a sensational prodigy; as a young man, merely a genius; in middle age, only brilliant; in his later years a bore and a drunk.” Hamilton’s great talent was first demonstrated by his amazing ability to master new languages. At the age of three he could read English fluently, at five he was translating Greek and Hebrew. By age 13 he had mastered Latin, French, Italian, and Spanish, and had a good grasp of Persian, Arabic, Syriac, Hindi, Sanskrit, and Malay. In his entrance exam to Trinity College, Dublin, in 1823, he gained the highest scores in both mathematics and English, and his ability was so extraordinary while a student that he was appointed as professor of astronomy while still an undergraduate. After being knighted in 1835 for his work on optics, the focus of
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mgf1107lecture17 - MGF 1107 EXPLORATIONS IN MATHEMATICS...

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