Peter Guthrie Tait

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Peter Guthrie Tait

Peter Guthrie Tait (28 April 18314 July 1901) was a Scottish mathematical physicist, best known for the seminal energy physics textbook Treatise on Natural Philosophy, which he co-wrote with Kelvin, and his early investigations into knot theory, which contributed to the eventual formation of topology as a mathematical discipline.


  • [Examiners] spend their lives in discovering which pages of a text-book a man ought to read and which will not be likely to 'pay'.
    • in an address to the University of Edinburgh graduates, as quoted by Cargill Gilston Knott (1911). Life and scientific work of Peter Guthrie Tait. Cambridge University Press. p. 11. 
  • The next grand extensions of mathematical physics will, in all likelihood, be furnished by quaternions.
    • in Note on a Quaternion Transformation , Communication read on Monday, 6th April, 1863, Proceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (1866), p. 117.

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