Grassmann, Hermann Günther
Hermann Günther Grassmann (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.