Take the 2-minute tour ×
Mathematics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for people studying math at any level and professionals in related fields. It's 100% free, no registration required.

This is a strange question and I'm not sure where to put it; I'm currently writing an essay for a history of maths course, and I've chosen the topic of Hamilton's discovery of the quaternions. I assume that after he discovered them, he would have published a paper explaining his thought processes etc., but every paper I can find is on the applications of quaternions rather than their discovery.

I know he experimented with triplets before he realized that he needed a fourth dimension, and I'm looking for his papers that document this.

Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

share|improve this question
    
While most of this paper is not dedicated to the discovery itself, I sure found the description and context of the discovery very good. Altmann's book also has a great description of the discovery. –  rschwieb Mar 21 at 17:03

2 Answers 2

See Hamilton's Research on Quaternions.

share|improve this answer
    
This story is told by van der Waerden (with the same references as in the link above) in A History of Algebra From al-Kwarizmi to Emmy Noether‌​, pp. 179-183. –  Per Manne Mar 20 at 14:02

You might want to examine the possibility that this was discovered earlier by the Spanish mathematician and banker Olinde Rodrigues in 1840.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.