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Grassmann’s Legacy

By David Hestenes


In a previous conference honouring Hermann Grassmann’s profound intellectual contributions (Schubring 1996), I cast him as a central figure in the historical development of a universal geometric calculus for mathematics and physics (Hestenes 1996). Sixteen years later I am here to report that impressive new applications in this tradition are rapidly developing in computer science and robotics as well as physics and mathematics. Especially noteworthy is the emergence of Conformal Geometric Algebra as an ideal tool for computational geometry, as it fulfils at last one of Grassmann’s grandest goals and confirms the prescience of his mathematical insight. Geometric Calculus has finally reached sufficient maturity to serve as a comprehensive geometric language for the whole community of scientists, mathematicians and engineers. Moreover, its simplicity recommends it as a tool for reforming high school mathematics and physics, as Grassmann had envisioned. My purpose here is threefold: to extend my previous account of Grassmann’s pivotal role in the evolution of Geometric Algebra to place him in a broa

Year: 2014
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