• Sir William Rowan Hamilton: Life, Achievements, Stature in Physics

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    • Keywords


      Newtonian mechanics, Euler– Lagrange equations, Hamiltonian mechanics and optics, quaternions.

    • Abstract


      Against the background of the development ofphysics, and in particular of mechanics, over thecenturies since Galileo and Newton, we describethe life and work of William Rowan Hamilton inthe 19th century. The depth of his ideas whichbrought together the understanding of ray opticsand classical mechanics, and the remarkableways in which his work paved the way to theconstruction of quantum mechanics in the 20thcentury, are emphasized.

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