Grassmann, Hermann Günther

Grassmann, Hermann Günther

(hĕr`män gün`tər gräs`män), 1809–77, German mathematician and Sanskrit scholar, educated in Berlin. He invented a new algebra of vectors (somewhat similar to quaternions), presented in his book Die Ausdehnungslehre (1844, 4th ed. 1969). He composed a translation of the Rig-Veda (1876–77). The linguistic law reformulated by (and named for) him holds that in Indo-European bases, especially in Sanskrit and Greek, successive syllables may not begin with aspirates.
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