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Home > Dictionary of Science Quotations > Scientist Names Index M > Alexander Macfarlane Quotes

Alexander Macfarlane
(21 Apr 1851 - 28 Aug 1913)

Scottish mathematician, physicist and logician who wrote several books on mathematics. He was the inventor of hyperbolic quaternions, and was well known to workers in vector algebras.

Science Quotes by Alexander Macfarlane (2 quotes)

In future times Tait will be best known for his work in the quaternion analysis. Had it not been for his expositions, developments and applications, Hamilton’s invention would be today, in all probability, a mathematical curiosity.
— Alexander Macfarlane
In Bibliotheca Mathematica (1903), 3, 189. As cited in Robert Édouard Moritz, Memorabilia Mathematica; Or, The Philomath’s Quotation-Book (1914), 178. [Note: Tait is Peter Guthrie Tait; Hamilton is Sir William Rowan Hamilton. —Webmaster]
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Tait dubbed Maxwell dp/dt, for according to thermodynamics dp/dt = JCM (where C denotes Carnot’s function) the initials of (J.C.) Maxwell’s name. On the other hand Maxwell denoted Thomson by T and Tait by T'; so that it became customary to quote Thomson and Tait’s Treatise on Natural Philosophy as T and T'.
— Alexander Macfarlane
In Bibliotheca Mathematica (1903), 3, 187. As cited in Robert Édouard Moritz, Memorabilia Mathematica; Or, The Philomath’s Quotation-Book (1914), 178. [Note: Thomson is William Thomson, later Lord Kelvin. —Webmaster.]
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Carl Sagan Thumbnail In science it often happens that scientists say, 'You know that's a really good argument; my position is mistaken,' and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old view from them again. They really do it. It doesn't happen as often as it should, because scientists are human and change is sometimes painful. But it happens every day. I cannot recall the last time something like that happened in politics or religion. (1987) -- Carl Sagan
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