Linear equations were invented in 1843 by Irish mathematician Sir William Rowan Hamilton. He was born in 1805 and died in 1865. Through his algebraic theory, Sir Hamilton made important contributions to mathematics, and his work found applications in quantum mechanics.

Some consider Sir Hamilton a genius because of his exceptional mental abilities. At just the age of 13, he reportedly spoke 13 languages, and at 22, he was a professor at University of Dublin. Sir Hamilton was guided by his idealism, faith and passion for metaphysics, politics and poetry. In his mathematical studies, he wanted to find ways of extending complex numbers, which he did with his invention of a type of equations known as quaternions.