« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »
WITH NUMEROUS EXAMPLES,
P. KELLAND, M.A., F.R.S.,
FORMERLY FELLOW OF QUEENS' COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE;
P. G. TAIT, M.A.,
PROFESSORS IN THE DEPARTMENT OF MATHEMATICS IN THE
UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH,
MACMILLAN AND CO.
[All Rights reserved.]
The present Treatise is, as the title-page indicates, the joint production of Prof. Tait and myself. The preface I write in the first person, as this enables me to offer some personal explanations.
For many years past I have been accustomed, no doubt very imperfectly, to introduce to my class the subject of Quaternions as part of elementary Algebra, more with the view of establishing principles than of applying processes. Experience has taught me that to induce a student to think for himself there is nothing so effectual as to lay before him the different stages of the development of a science in something like the historical order. And justice alike to the student and the subject forbade that I should stop short at that point where, more simply and more effectually than at any other, the intimate connexion between principles and processes is made manifest. Moreover in lecturing on the groundwork on which the mathematical sciences are based, I could not but bring before my class the names of great men who spoke in other tongues and belonged to other nationalities than their own-Diophantus, Des Cartes, Lagrange, for instance-and it was not just to omit the name of one as great as any of them, Sir William Rowan Hamilton, who spoke their own tongue and claimed their own nationality. It is true the name of Hamilton has not had the impress of time to stamp it with the seal of immortality. And it must be admitted that a cautious policy which forbids to wander from the beaten paths, and encourages converse with the past rather than interference with the present, is the true policy of a teacher. But in the case before us, quite irrespective of the nationality of the inventor, there is ample ground for introducing this subject of Quaternions into an elementary course of mathematics. It belongs to first principles and is their crowning and completion. It brings those principles face to face with operations, and thus not only satisfies the student of the mutual dependence of the two, but tends to carry him back to a clear apprehension of what he had probably failed to appreciate in the subordinate sciences.
Besides, there is no branch of mathematics in which results of such wide variety are deduced by one uniform process; there is no territory like this to be attacked and subjugated by a single weapon. And what is of the utmost importance in an educational point of view, the reader of this subject does not require to encumber his memory with a host of conclusions already arrived at in order to advance. Every problem is more or less selfcontained. This is my apology for the present treatise.
The work is, as I have said, the joint production of Prof. Tait and myself. The preface I have written without consulting my colleague, as I am thus enabled