Broom Bridge

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Broom Bridge, also known as Brougham Bridge, is a bridge along Broombridge Road which crosses the Royal Canal in Cabra, Dublin, Ireland. Broom Bridge is named after William Brougham, one of the directors of the Royal Canal company. It is somewhat famous for being the location where Sir William Rowan Hamilton first wrote down the fundamental formula for quaternions on October 16, 1843, which is to this day commemorated by a stone plaque on the northwest corner of the underside of the bridge.

The text on the plaque reads:

Here as he walked by
on the 16th of October 1843
Sir William Rowan Hamilton
in a flash of genius discovered
the fundamental formula for
quaternion multiplication
i² = j² = k² = ijk = −1
& cut it on a stone of this bridge.

Given the historical importance of the bridge with respect to mathematics, mathematicians from all over the world have been known to take part in the annual commemorative walk from Dunsink Observatory to the site. Attendees have included Nobel Prize winners Murray Gell-Mann, Steven Weinberg and Frank Wilczek, and mathematicians Sir Andrew Wiles and Ingrid Daubechies.


Further reading

  • Irelands Royal Canal, Ruth Delany, ISBN 0-946640-92-0

External links

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