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Sir William Rowan Hamilton (1805–1865), mathematician
Sir William Rowan Hamilton MRIA (4 August 1805 – 2 September 1865) was an Irish mathematician who made important contributions to classical mechanics, optics, and algebra. Although Hamilton was not a physicist–he regarded himself as a pure mathematician–his work was of major importance to physics, particularly his reformulation of Newtonian mechanics, now called Hamiltonian mechanics. This work has proven central to the modern study of classical field theories such as electromagnetism, and to the development of quantum mechanics. In pure mathematics, he is best known as the inventor of quaternions.