Alexander McAulay

Physicist, Academic

1863 – 1931


Who was Alexander McAulay?

Alexander McAulay was an explorer of Clifford biquaternion theory and was the first professor of mathematics and physics at the University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania.

McAulay was born December 9, 1863 and attended Kingswood School in Bath. He proceeded to Caius College, Cambridge, there taking up a study of the quaternion algebra. In 1883 he published an article "Some general theorems in quaternion integration". McAulay took his degree in 1886, and began to reflect on the instruction of students in quaternion theory. In an article "Establishment of the fundamental properties of quaternions" he suggested improvements to the texts then in use. He also wrote a technical article on integration.

Departing for Australia, he lectured at Ormond College, University of Melbourne from 1893 to 1895. As a distant correspondent, he participated in a vigorous debate about the place of quaternions in physics education. In 1893 his book Utility of Quaternions in Physics was published. A. S. Hathaway contributed a positive review and Peter Guthrie Tait praised it in these terms:

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Dec 9, 1863
  • University of Cambridge
  • University of Manchester
Jul 6, 1931

on July 23, 2013


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