Hamilton Day commemorates a groundbreaking discovery by Ireland’s most famous scientist. On 16 October 1843, William Rowan Hamilton discovered quaternion algebra, while walking along the Royal Canal from Dunsink Observatory to the Royal Irish Academy (RIA). This was one of those very rare Eureka moments in the history of science. So excited was he by his discovery that he scratched his equation on the wall of Broome Bridge, Cabra.
Sir William Rowan Hamilton
Each year the RIA celebrates Hamilton’s life and contribution to mathematics by holding Hamilton Day to coincide with the anniversary of Hamilton’s discovery in October 1843. The day includes an award ceremony to recognise the most gifted third level mathematics students in Ireland; a masterclass for early-career researchers; a public discussion on a topical issue and the day concludes with the Hamilton lecture which is given by an international renowned speaker.
With support from Arup and the Irish Times, the next Hamilton Day will take place on Monday 16 October 2017.
Professor Wendelin Werner will give the Hamilton lecture in the Burke Theatre, Trinity College Dublin. Booking for the lecture is essential.
Professor Wendelin Werner biography
Werner was awarded the 2006 Fields Medal for his contributions to the development of stochastic Loewner evolution, the geometry of two-dimensional Brownian motion, and conformal field theory. The Fields Medal is considered the highest honour that can be awarded to a mathematician and is often called the Nobel Prize for Mathematics.
Werner’s style of work is highly collaborative and interactive and has been lauded for being ‘simultaneously good for the soul while leading to work stronger than the sum of its parts’. His research has the potential to cross discipline boundaries to interact with finance, theoretical computer science and economics
The motivation for much of Werner’s (and his collaborators’) work comes from physics and involves applications of probability theory and complex analysis to study fundamental problems in statistical physics. This has led to a new understanding of the intrinsically random nature of two dimensional physical systems at their critical temperatures.
German born Werner became a French national in 1977 and completed his doctorate in 1993 at the Université Pierre-et-Marie-Curie. Werner was a research officer at the National Centre of Scientific Research from 1991 to 1997, during which period he held a two-year Leibniz Fellowship, at the University of Cambridge. He was Professor at the University of Paris-Sud in Orsay from 1997 to 2013. He is currently professor at ETH Zürich.
Past Hamilton Day speakers
Past Hamilton Day speakers have included Roger Penrose, Robert Merton, Cédric Villani, Lisa Randall and Frank Wilczek. A complete list of all Hamilton Day speakers can be viewed here.
In 2015, Professor Daniel Spielman, Henry Ford II Professor of Computer Science, Mathematics, and Applied Mathematics at Yale University gave the Hamilton lecture.