William Clifford (1845-1879) was an important mathematician of his day. He is most remembered today for his invention of Clifford algebras, which are fundamental in modern differential geometry and mathematical physics. His ideas on the connection between energy and matter and the curvature of space were important in the eventual formulation of general relativity. Clifford was particularly interested in non-Euclidean geometry. However, in his relatively brief career, he made contributions to diverse fields of mathematics: elliptic functions, Riemann surfaces, biquaternions, motion in Euclidean and non-Euclidean space, spaces of constant curvature, syzygies, and so on. He was also well-known as a teacher and for his ideas on the philosophy of science. This work covers the life and mathematical work of Clifford, from his early education at Templeton (Exeter) to King's College (London), to Trinity (Cambridge) and ultimately to his professorship at University College (London)--a post which he occupied until the time of his death. Tucker discusses Clifford's Fellowship at the Royal Society and his Council post at the London Mathematical Society.
His papers and talks are presented and peppered with entertaining anecdotes relating Clifford's associations with his private tutor, family members, and his wide circle of personal friends and professional colleagues.
Publisher: American Mathematical Society