on July 25, 2003
Conway is an excellent mathematician and an extremely lucid author. No criticism should be given to any of his writings. In the case of quaternions (and octonians), a much better, more complete, and more powerful view is achieved by seeing them in the larger setting of geometric algebra. The geometric algebra gives direct access to all the results and all the geometry of these algebras, and does so in an intuitive and useful way. I suggest that the new book by Chris Doran and Anthony Lasenby called "Geometric Algebra for Physicists" is a better place, generally, to get acquainted with these issues deeply. It isn't a criticism of Conway. It's just an advantage of seeing things in the right context.
on March 25, 2003
John Conway's books are always well written, and this could serve as a model for other mathematics authors. I don't need to know that much about quaternions and octonions, but I found myself working through most of the book and the beautiful mathematics it covers. The only thing that disappoints is the dreadful cover and the difficulty getting hold of a copy in a bookstore. But then I guess Amazon.com exists to help people get their hands on stuff they might never see in a bookstore.
on April 18, 2003
On Quaternions And Octonions: Their Geometry, Arithmetic, And Symmetry is a collaboratively presented treatise by John H. Conway and Derek A. Smith on the geometry of the quaternion and octonion algebras. Examining 3- and 4-dimensional Euclidean spaces, enumerating the corresponding finite group of symmetries, analyzing the arithmetics of quaternions and octonions and much more, this impressive presentation sheds new light on the geometry of complex numbers and is a scholarly addition to Advanced Mathematics reference collections and reading lists.