William Rowan Hamilton

Physicist, Astronomer, and Mathematician

Date of birth and death

He was born in Dublin August 4th 1809

Died September 2nd 1865


William got his education at Trinity College, Dublin, Westminster School


Major Contributions

His major Contributions were in the field of classical mechanics, algebra, and optics. Also he discovered quaternions.


In 1827 he came up with a theory called single function. This theory put together mechanics, optics, and mathematics. This helped establish the wave theory of light. One thing that was very common in Hamilton’s research was that they were based on the principle of “Varying Action.” Varying Action is a single ray of light entering a biaxial crystal at a certain angle emerged as a hollow cone of rays. Another one of his greatest contribution in the field of mathematical science was his discovery of quaternions in 1843

How he has impacted the world today

The Discovery of Quaternions is probably is his most familiar invention today. Hamilton’s quaternions said that changing the order of multiplication changes the result. Quaternions are used in computer graphics and mechanics calculation to calculate movement and rotation.