William Rowan Hamilton was Ireland’s greatest mathematician. His name is heard thousands of times every day throughout the world when researchers use the Hamiltonian function that encapsulates the dynamics of a vast range of physical systems. He achieved fame early in life and remains one of the all-time great scientists. [TM099, or search for “thatsmaths” at irishtimes.com].

## Posts Tagged 'Ireland'

### The next Hamilton

Published September 15, 2016 Irish Times Leave a CommentTags: Hamilton, History, Ireland

### Computers Speaking in Irish

Published July 21, 2016 Irish Times Leave a CommentTags: Computer Science, Education, Ireland

Most of us use computer terminals, tablets and smart phones, absorbing information quickly and easily. How do the many thousands of Irish people who are blind or visually impaired manage to interact with computers? For them, entering data by keyboard or voice is easy, but special software is needed to convert the text on screen into a form for output to a loudspeaker or headphones, or to drive a refreshable Braille display [TM095, or search for “thatsmaths” at irishtimes.com].

### Who Needs EirCode?

Published July 28, 2015 Occasional Leave a CommentTags: Algorithms, Arithmetic, Ireland

The idea of using two numbers to identify a position on the Earth’s surface is very old. The Greek astronomer Hipparchus (190–120 BC) was the first to specify location using latitude and longitude. However, while latitude could be measured relatively easily, the accurate determination of longitude was more difficult, especially for sailors out of site of land.

French philosopher, scientist and mathematician René Descartes demonstrated the power of coordinates and his method of algebraic geometry revolutionized mathematics. It had a profound, unifying effect on pure mathematics and greatly increased the ability of maths to model the physical world.

### The Faraday of Statistics

Published May 1, 2014 Irish Times Leave a CommentTags: Ireland, Probability, Statistics

This week, *That’s Maths* in *The Irish Times* ( TM044 ) is about the originator of Students t-distribution.

In October 2012 a plaque was unveiled at St Patrick’s National School, Blackrock, to commemorate William Sealy Gosset, who had lived nearby for 22 years. Sir Ronald Fisher, a giant among statisticians, called Gosset “The Faraday of Statistics”, recognising his ability to grasp general principles and apply them to problems of practical significance.

### Euclid in Technicolor

Published February 20, 2014 Irish Times 1 CommentTags: Education, Geometry, History, Ireland

The article in this week’s *That’s Maths* column in the* Irish Times* ( TM039 ) is about Oliver Byrne’s amazing technicolor *Elements of Euclid,* recently re-published by Taschen.

### Ireland’s Fractal Coastline

Published December 12, 2013 Occasional Leave a CommentTags: Fractals, Ireland, Maps

Reports of the length of Ireland’s coastline vary widely. *The World Factbook* of the Central Intelligence Agency gives a length of 1448 km. The *Ordnance Survey of Ireland* has a value of 3,171 km (http://www.osi.ie). The *World Resources Institute*, using data from the United States Defense Mapping Agency, gives 6,347km (see Wikipedia article [3]).