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Annual Hamilton Walk – 16th October 2017

The Annual Hamilton Walk, in association with the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Maynooth University, will take place during Maths Week Ireland on Monday 16th October starting from Dunsink Observatory. Advance Booking is essential for this event. More information including booking details can be found here.


dunsink_houseThe walk commemorates Sir William Rowan Hamilton’s famous creation of a strange new number system, called Quaternions, on the banks of the Royal Canal in Dublin on October 16, 1843. Quaternions now play a fundamental role in computer games and animation, special effects in movies, space navigation, physics, engineering and many other areas. The walk will retrace Hamilton’s steps from Dunsink Observatory to Broom Bridge in Cabra where he had his Eureka moment.


Hamilton performed a piece of mathematical graffiti by scratching his quaternion formulas on the canal bridge. In an act of mathematical vandalism, Hamilton opened up a whole new mathematical landscape where mathematicians could now feel free to conceive new algebraic number systems that were not shackled by the rules of ordinary numbers in arithmetic. Hamilton freed algebra from arithmetic and he was called the Liberator of Algebra.