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The Biquaternions

Renee Russell Kim Kesting Caitlin Hult SPWM 2011

Sir William Rowan Hamilton


Physicist, Astronomer and Mathematician

Contributions to Science and Mathematics:

Optics Classical and Quantum Mechanics Electromagnetism Algebra: Discovered Quaternions & Biquaternions!

This young man, I do not say will be, but is, the first mathematician of his age Bishop Dr. John Brinkley

Review of Quaternions, H
A quaternion is a number of the form of: Q = a + bi + cj + dk where a, b, c, d R, 2 2 2 and i = j = k = ijk = -1.

So what is a biquaternion?


A biquaternion is a number of the form B = a + bi + cj + dk where a, b, c, d C, and

2 2 i =j = 2 k =

ijk = -1.

CONFUSING: (a+bi) + (c+di)i + (w+xi)j + (y+zi)k
* Notice this i is different from the i component of the basis, {1, i, j, k} for a (bi)quaternion! *

We can avoid this confusion by renaming i, j,and k:

B = (a +bi) + (c+di)e1 +(w+xi)e2 +(y+zi)e3

e12 = e22 = e32 =e1e2e3 = -1.

B can also be written as the complex combination of two quaternions: B = Q + iQ where i =-1, and Q,Q H.

B = (a+bi) + (c+di)e1 + (w+xi)e2 + (y+zi)e3 =(a + ce1 + we2 +ye3) +i(b + de3 + xe2 +ze3)
where a, b, c, d, w, x, y, z R

Properties of the Biquarternions

ADDITION: We define addition component-wise:

B = a + be1 + ce2 + de3 B = w + xe1 + ye2 + ze3

where a, b, c, d C where w, x, y, z C

B +B =(a+w) + (b+x)e1 +(c+y)e2 +(d+z)e3

Properties of the Biquarternions

ADDITION: Closed Commutative Associative Additive Identity 0 = 0 + 0e1 + 0e2 + 0e3 Additive Inverse: -B = -a + (-b)e1 + (-c)e2 + (-d)e3

Properties of the Biquarternions

SCALAR MULTIPLICATION: hB =ha + hbe2 +hce3 +hde3

where h C or R

The Biquaternions form a vector space over C and R!!

Properties of the Biquarternions

MULTIPLICATION: The formula for the product of two biquaternions is the same as for quaternions: (a,b)(c,d) = (ac-db*, a*d+cb) where a, b, c, d C.
Closed Associative NOT Commutative Identity:

1 = (1+0i) + 0e1 + 0e2 + 0e3

Biquaternions are an algebra over C!


Properties of the Biquarternions

So far, the biquaterions over C have all the same properties as the quaternions over R.

In other words, does every non-zero element have a multiplicative inverse?

Properties of the Biquarternions

Recall for a quaternion, Q H,

Q-1 = a be1 ce2 de3 2 2 2 2 a +b +c +d

where a, b, c, d R

Does this work for biquaternions?

Biquaternions are NOT a division algebra over C!

Quaternions (over R)
Vector Space?
Algebra? Division Algebra? Normed Division Algebra?

Biquaternions (over C)

Biquaternions are isomorphic to M2x2(C)

Define a map f: BQ M2x2(C) by the following: f(w + xe1 + ye2 + ze2 ) =

w+xi -y+zi

y+zi w-xi

where w, x, y, z C.
We can show that f is one-to-one, onto, and is a linear transformation. Therefore, BQ is isomorphic to M2x2(C).

Applications of Biquarternions

Special Relativity Physics Linear Algebra Electromagnetism