Clifford, William Kingdon

BORN 4 May 1845, Exeter, Devon - DIED 3 Mar 1879, Madeira
CAUSE OF DEATH tuberculosis
GRAVE LOCATION London: Highgate Cemetery East, Swain's Lane, Highgate (North of Marx tomb and near George Eliot and Herbert Spencer)

William Clifford studied at King's College in London from his 15th year and also studied at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he was elected a fellow in 1868. In 1870 he travelled to Italy to see an eclipse and there he survived a shipwreck aling the coast of Sicilia. In 1871 he was appointed professor of mathematics and mechanics at University College in London. In 1874 he was elected a fellow o the Royal Society.

He married Lucy Lane in 1875, but in 1876 he broke down from fatigue. After half a year in Algeria and Spain he resumed his duties. He published his important work "Applications of Grassmann's extensive algebra" in 1878 and introduced what is now known as geometric algebra. But after 18 months of work he broke down again. This time he went to Madeira to recover, but there he died from tuberculosis, leaving Lucy and their two young daughters behind.

• Wife: Clifford, Lucy (1875-1879)


The grave of Willliam Clifford and Lucy Clifford at Highgate Cemetery East, London.
Picture by Androom (28 Mar 2016)


Highgate Cemetery (East), Friends of Highgate Cemetery
William Kingdon Clifford - Wikipedia

Cloppenburg, James

Published: 21 Sep 2018
Last update: 20 Apr 2022