My Civil List Predecessor Rowan Hamilton

Sir William Rowan Hamilton is known as Rowan Hamilton in Trinity College Dublin, of which I am sometime Visiting Academic. He was appointed to the Civil List on April 27th 1844 with a pension of £200 a year (about £22,319 a year today). My Civil List Pension is £2,400 a year, so it has been eroded a lot in value since 1844. It is now an honorarium rather than a salary to live on. The Civil List Pension is akin to Order of Merit. Hamilton was appointed Professor of Astronomy in Dublin at the age of twenty two and was considered to be one of the best mathematicians in the world at the age of 18. His papers “On a General Method of Dynamics” (1834 and 1835) gave the Hamilton Principle of Least Action and also what are known now as the Euler Lagrange equations. These were actually discovered by Hamilton using the Euler principle of 1744 and using some of Lagrange’s ideas of 1760. He also inferred the Hamilton or canonical equations, defined the lagrangian and inferred the hamiltonian, the basis of quantum mechanics. In UFT176, (www.aias.us and www.upitec.org) the Quantum Hamilton Equations are inferred, in what has become a classic paper. The Hamilton Principle of Least Action can be used in many branches of physics and mathematics.


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