Arthur Cayley

Mathematician, Academic

1821 – 1895

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Who was Arthur Cayley?

Arthur Cayley F.R.S. was a British mathematician. He helped found the modern British school of pure mathematics.

As a child, Cayley enjoyed solving complex maths problems for amusement. He entered Trinity College, Cambridge, where he excelled in Greek, French, German, and Italian, as well as mathematics. He worked as a lawyer for 14 years.

He postulated the Cayley–Hamilton theorem—that every square matrix is a root of its own characteristic polynomial, and verified it for matrices of order 2 and 3. He was the first to define the concept of a group in the modern way—as a set with a binary operation satisfying certain laws. Formerly, when mathematicians spoke of "groups", they had meant permutation groups.

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Born
Aug 16, 1821
Richmond, London
Nationality
  • United Kingdom
Profession
Education
  • University of Cambridge
  • Trinity College, Cambridge
  • King's College School
Employment
  • University of Cambridge
Lived in
  • England
Died
Jan 26, 1895
Cambridge

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

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