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William Rowan Hamilton

by A Capella Science

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Many science YouTubers come together to tell the tale of Ireland's greatest physicist, William Rowan Hamilton.


CAYLEY (Derek Muller)
How does the plastered
Son of a law man in Dublin
Dubbed an impressive polyglot young'un
Wunderkind embarrassed in a contest with a prodigious Vermonter
Obtain Irish science's highest honour?

LAGRANGE (Tom McFadden)
The math scholar
Chief astronomer alcoholic
Burned a lot stronger
By working a lot longer
By starting a lot younger
By being a savant and by thirteen
Knew more languages than the Holy Father

EULER (Coma Niddy)
And every day while knaves were playing soccer and ogling babes
Lost in the page he studied
And built his knowledge
At eighteen had gotten a spot at Trinity College
The brother had mathematical skills set to astonish

BRINKLEY (Hood Skalas)
Then a shot at love came but
Devastation reigned
Our man saw his Catherine take another name
The depression told him end it
He fended it from his brain
Then he wrote his first refrain
A testament to his pain

WORDSWORTH (Tom Zalatnai)
William Wordsworth, his pal, said
"This verse is just okay man
Stick to mathematics and you'll never be a layman
Do your calculation
Stake kinetics as your claim
And the world's gonna know your name
What's your name man?"

HAMILTON (Tim Blais)
William Rowan Hamilton
My name is William Rowan Hamilton
And no one uses my quaternions
But just you wait
Just you wait

NOETHER (Helen Arney)
He tried extending the complex
Found the next step fickle
His kids would ask him "daddy can you multiply triples"
"Not yet.
I can only subtract and add back"

*He'd wedded one Helen but the heat of love lacked*

AIRY (Simon Clark)
Meanwhile he'd adopted an optimization view of light
Following optics it drew him right
To a new insight
A path to dynamics
No thought to habits or health
He started computin' what Newton
Never managed to himself

A beautiful and symmetric view
Of matched momentum choosing
Minimal action as his route
But missing Catherine made him droop
He started drinking
Slinking to his office
Getting rip roared
Turning back to triplet
Manipulation with no reward

JACOBI (Baba Brinkman)
Strolling with Helen
When new inspiration calls him
Add another letter
See him now as he scrawls in the stone of a bridge
Like a revolution
ijk equals negative 1

Where i-squared equals negative one i-j-k...
And j-squared equals negative one i-j-k...
And k-squared equals negative one i-j-k...
Which equals (equals)


William Rowan Hamilton!
We are waiting on the bounds for you
Cause your energy function generates the flow of
Time oh!
William Rowan Hamilton
Operators that Lie commute
With the symbol that bears your name
Hold their own and oppose the grain
Conserved, they'll always be the same oh!

His versors form hypersphere
See if you can plot em

Invented vectors and scalars
For when you dot em

The alcohol destroyed his health
And gout it finally got him

We grounded him

Me, I counselled him

Me, I worked with him

We revamped him

And me
I adapted him for quantum

He'll make all physics Hamiltonian
Just you wait!

What's your name man?



released July 27, 2016
Feat. Derek Muller, Tom McFadden, Coma Niddy, Hood Skalas, Tom Zalatnai, Helen Arney, Simon Clark, Hank Green, Baba Brinkman, Mary-Jane Blais & Angelique Empleo.


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