quaternion
quaternion (kwətûr´nēən), in mathematics, a type of higher complex number first suggested by Sir William R. Hamilton in 1843. A complex number is a number of the form a+bi when a and b are real numbers and i is the socalled imaginary unit defined by the equation i^{2}=1. The rules for operating with complex numbers are simply those of operating with the polynomial a+bx except that i^{2} is replaced by 1 whenever it occurs. A quaternion, an extension of this concept, is a number of the form a+bi+cj+dk when a, b, c, and d are real numbers and i, j, and k are imaginary units defined by the equations i^{2}=j^{2}=k^{2}=ijk=1. Quaternions, as well as vectors and tensors (later outgrowths of the concept of quaternions), have many important applications in mechanics.
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"quaternion." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.
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quaternion
quaternion group of four XIV; quire of four sheets XVII; (math.) XIX. — late L. quaterniō, ōn, f. quaternī four together (see prec.).
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"quaternion." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.
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"quaternion." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved October 22, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionariesthesaurusespicturesandpressreleases/quaternion