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August

August ~ 1 ~ 2 ~ 3 ~ 4 ~ 5 ~ 6 ~ 7 ~ 8 ~ 9 ~ 10 ~ 11 ~ 12 ~ 13 ~ 14 ~ 15 ~ 16 ~ 17 ~ 18 ~ 19 ~ 20 ~ 21 ~ 22 ~ 23 ~ 24 ~ 25 ~ 26 ~ 27 ~ 28 ~ 29 ~ 30 ~ 31


1805 Sir William Rowan Hamilton was born in Dublin on this day in 1805. He was a leading mathematician and much of his work paved the way for future studies and theories. Hamilton was best known as the inventor of quaternions.

For those that don’t know, quaternions are an incredibly complicated number system that extends the complex numbers and applies to mechanics in three-dimensional space. Rather than try to explain quaternions in a few sentences, here is an example taken from Wikipedia, known as the Hamilton product:

For two elements a1 + b1i + c1j + d1k and a2 + b2i + c2j + d2k, their product, called the Hamilton product (a1 + b1i + c1j + d1k) (a2 + b2i + c2j + d2k), is determined by the products of the basis elements and the distributive law. The distributive law makes it possible to expand the product so that it is a sum of products of basis elements. This gives the following expression:

a_1a_2 + a_1b_2i + a_1c_2j + a_1d_2k
{}+ b_1a_2i + b_1b_2i^2 + b_1c_2ij + b_1d_2ik
{}+ c_1a_2j + c_1b_2ji + c_1c_2j^2 + c_1d_2jk
{}+ d_1a_2k + d_1b_2ki + d_1c_2kj + d_1d_2k^2.

Now the basis elements can be multiplied using the rules given above to get:[6]

a_1a_2 – b_1b_2 – c_1c_2 – d_1d_2
{}+ (a_1b_2 + b_1a_2 + c_1d_2 – d_1c_2)i
{}+ (a_1c_2 – b_1d_2 + c_1a_2 + d_1b_2)j
{}+ (a_1d_2 + b_1c_2 – c_1b_2 + d_1a_2)k.

See, it is no so confusing when it is written down in front of you! To most of us these equations and formulas are far too complicated to understand. This is the level that Hamilton and his colleagues were working at in the mid-19th century.

Click here to read about more great Irish scientists

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1846 The Great Southern & Western Railway line between Dublin and Carlow opened on this day in 1846. It was a major route on the railway system and was further extended into Limerick and Cork, revolutionising industry and travel.

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1952 Happy birthday to Moya Brennan, born in Dublin on this day in 1952. She is a talented singer songwriter and has had a successful career in the music industry.

Brennan is from a musical family. Her mother was a music teacher and her father was part of a cabaret band. Her sister is Enya. Brennan is the oldest of nine children and she soon formed a band with two of her brothers and two of her uncles, called Clannad.

They were very successful in the 1970s and 80s with their sound of traditional Irish music fused with jazz. Clannad sold more than 15 million records and paved the way for several more traditional Irish bands in the future.

Brennan has also achieved great success as a solo artist, and has performed all over the world with some of the best musicians around. She currently lives in Dublin with her husband and two children.

Click here to read more about Moya Brennan 

Click here to read more about Clannad

Click here to read about more great Irish singers 

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Interested in discovering more about your Irish roots? This free online genealogy course with Strathclyde University shows you how to trace your family tree and also covers the use of DNA testing in genealogical research.

1976 Happy birthday to Kealan Patrick Burke, born in Waterford on this day in 1976. He is an author and has written some of the most popular Irish novels of the 21st century. Burke was nominated for the prestigious Bram Stoker Award for his book The Hides and won the prize for another of his works The Turtle Boy in 2014.

Burke is also a notable character because he was one of the first writers to bring literature into the 21st century. He began writing a novel and published it online, so that his fans could read it and vote which way they wanted the story to go. It was a huge success and created a whole new genre of literature for authors and fans. It became known as a wovel – a web novel.

Click here to read about more great Irish writers

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Interested in discovering more about your Irish roots? This free online genealogy course with Strathclyde University shows you how to trace your family tree and also covers the use of DNA testing in genealogical research.

2000 There were angry protests from loyalists in Northern Ireland on this day in 2000, after Health Minister Bairbre de Brun refused fly the British flag outside her Belfast offices to celebrate the 100th birthday of Britain’s Queen Mother.

Of course, Northern Ireland is part of the UK, and their head of state is Queen Elizabeth II. However, Sínn Féin member and Irish speaker de Brun refused to acknowledge the British celebration sparking criticism from Northern Irish loyalists.

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2002 Graeme MacDowell won his first professional golf tournament on this day in 2002. The Co Antrim star had only been a pro for two months but managed to seal the Volvo Scandinavian Masters, finishing one stroke ahead of South African Trevor Immelman.

MacDowell, known to fans as G-Mac, has since become one of the best golfers in the world. He won the US Open in 2010, and is a regularly competitor in the European team for the Ryder Cup. He has also represented Ireland several times in the World Cup of Golf. In 2009, MacDowell and his partner Rory McIlroy finished as runners up to Italy in the tournament.

Click here to read about more top Irish sports stars

August

August ~ 1 ~ 2 ~ 3 ~ 4 ~ 5 ~ 6 ~ 7 ~ 8 ~ 9 ~ 10 ~ 11 ~ 12 ~ 13 ~ 14 ~ 15 ~ 16 ~ 17 ~ 18 ~ 19 ~ 20 ~ 21 ~ 22 ~ 23 ~ 24 ~ 25 ~ 26 ~ 27 ~ 28 ~ 29 ~ 30 ~ 31

More on Irish history

Did you know?

Christabel Burton was an incredible Anglo-Irish woman who outsmarted Nazi interrogators to help free her husband from a concentration camp prison. Find out more.

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