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A song, a walk and a good equation: podcast tour 1

Do you enjoy a song, a walk and a good algebra equation?

William Rowan Hamilton quaternion walk

Ireland's greatest scientist, Sir William Rowan Hamilton

Then you’ll enjoy our podcast walking tour.  It features a lovely stroll by Dublin’s Royal Canal, tracing the steps of Ireland’s greatest scientist Sir William Rowan Hamilton, on the day he invented a new type of algebra.  Click to download the podcast here.

Hamilton’s algebra is called Quaternions, and you could say that it helped to land a man on the Moon because, among other things, it’s used to control spacecraft, and was vital to Nasa’s Apollo missions.

Every year, on Hamilton day (October 16th) hundreds of people join the annual commemoration walk from Dunsink Observatory to Broome Bridge, the very spot where Hamilton invented his new form of mathematics in a flash of inspiration.  It’s a key moment in the history of Irish science.

Quaternion equation at Broome Bridge by the Royal Canal

Our podcast was recorded on the 2011 walk, and features the ballad of William Rowan Hamilton (written by local man Jack Gannon), lots of stories and information about the Royal Canal, its engineering, wildlife, and even how canal locks work, plus interviews with many of the  people who attended.

You can use the podcast to take your own tour along the canal towpath.  The audio lasts 44 minutes, and the route by the canal is about 4 km long, and wheelchair accessible.

So if you fancy a stroll,  or even listening from the comfort of your couch, have a listen and learn about one of Ireland’s most important scientists.

Click to download the podcast here.

The podcast is presented by science journalist Mary Mulvihill, from Ingenious Ireland, and the production was supported by Maths Week Ireland and IRCSET.  Full details, the route, and getting to and from the canal are here.

Promoting Ireland’s rich scientific heritage.

This is the first in a series of Podcast tours — more to follow soon.

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