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Beyond Complex: the Quaternions

by

Professor Jeffrey Jauregui
Union College

October 28, 2014
5:00 pm
Bailey Hall 207

Refreshments will be served in Bailey Hall 204 at 4:45pm


Abstract:

The real numbers are very familiar to us, and the complex (real + imaginary) numbers slightly less so. But what if you attempted to explore beyond the imaginary number i by introducing an independent imaginary number, j ? This problem puzzled William Hamilton in the mid-19th century until he was suddenly struck with the solution (which he famously carved into the Broome bridge in Dublin), thereby inventing a mathematical system known as the quaternions. Some natural questions are: What do you gain by passing beyond the complex numbers to the quaternions? What do you lose? How far can you push this construction? Why were quaternions such a hot topic in mathematics and physics for several decades? We will answer these questions and much more.


For additional information, send e-mail to math@union.edu or call (518) 388-6246.
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