Cow talk

Dead Irish mathematician gives birth to Lara Croft

That’s actually not an exaggeration, as it turns out. It seems that the germ of today’s 3D graphics engines was born in 1843, when the Irish mathematician William Rowan Hamilton was on a walk in Dublin, had an inspiration, and — in the soft clay of a bridge — scrawled the quaternion, an algebraic equation that moved math into four dimensions.

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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